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St. John’s escapes the Peacocks with a 76-75 win

The opener was rarely comfortable, but one of the newcomers saved the day late.

Wendell Cruz/ Finish First Photos

St. John’s got all it could handle in their season opener against the Saint peter’s Peacocks. Five late points by wing Vince Cole, in his first game for St. John’s, pulled out a win for the Red Storm 76-75.

If fans were in attendance at this game, they would have left with their heart in their throats.

Junior newcomer Cole led the team with 21 points on 5/6 shooting from beyond the arc; Posh Alexander, a freshman newcomer added 16 points, five steals and seven rebounds. Isaih Moore had 12 points and nine rebounds.

St. John’s improves to 1-0 with a matchup tomorrow afternoon against LaSalle.

The first half of the game for St. John’s was a pleasant introduction to the potential of the newcomers. Isaih Moore was active and working the post, driving; Posh Alexander was a force; Vince Cole scored three triples and made them look smooth and easy.

But the Peacocks kept battling, and only the propensity to foul by Saint Peter’s gave the Johnnies their six point lead; Greg Williams Jr. drew six free throws in the second 10 minutes and helped the Johnnies work to a lead.

Throughout the half, the Red Storm could not get running on offense, as last year’s stars Rasheem Dunn and Greg Williams struggled to make an impact. Even more surprising, the Peacocks paraded to the rim for layups, getting 11 assists on 16 shots.

The second half started with a St. John’s trap and a turnover forced. It looked like the Red Storm were back on defensive track...

But despite starting with a six point lead, the Red Storm couldn’t find the bottom of the basket. The Peacocks kept the Red Storm stifled with a lot of presence down low. A lot of the misses were putbacks and missed layups, but “miss” seems wrong. The Peacocks were there in the paint, and St. John’s also wanted to be there in the paint, but were not good enough to impose their will.

Some outside shooting would help open things up, but besides Vince Cole, the rest of the team dropped an 0-fer from outside the arc until Rasheem Dunn’s catch and shoot trey at 14:45 in the second half.

A Saint Peter’s layup by Hassan Drame was good to give SPC the lead in the middle of the second half, and from there, the teams traded leads. It could have been more decisively the Peacocks’ lead. For example, Michael Lee stole a ball with under 8 minutes to play, got an open layup and blows it. And Posh Alexander scores on the other end.

Daryl Banks hit a wide open three after that play, a jumper and another three to help pace Saint Peter’s, while St. John’s went 5/12 with five turnovers in the last 10 minutes.

Remember those shots Saint Peter’s didn’t make? With the game going between no more than three or four points between the two teams, Vince Cole made a fast break layup. On the subsequent inbounds, Posh Alexander’s pressure and quick hands earned a turnover on a long football pass by Saint Peter’s. Vince Cole got the ball and drained the three from the left elbow.

With eight seconds left, the Peacocks drove down the right side, were pressured off of the three point line, and could not get the shot past Isaih Moore.

The Johnnies win.

KC Ndefo led Saint Peter’s with 16 and seven rebounds.

Next up for St. John’s is a 2 pm matchup against the LaSalle Explorers, who must be polishing their telescopes (can an explorer lick his or her chops?) thinking about facing this team with so little turnaround time.