After another slow start, St. John’s looks good for 36 minutes to dismantle Colgate, 82-64.
Against a by and large weak out of conference schedule, St. John’s has been able to out-talent its opponents to win despite inconsistent performances by the team. Today, the Red Storm put together its best game of the season by far and was able to win big by being both more talented and effectively executing the gameplan.
St. John’s early game struggles continued in this contest. Colgate either lead or was close for the first nine minutes or so of the game. When the Red Storm went to their bench, Rafael Pinzon and Stef Smith put up a combined 10 points over two minutes to help the Red Storm start to pull away.
Colgate switched to some 2-3 zone soon thereafter, which took the Red Storm by surprise for a couple of possessions. The Johnnies briefly struggled to make the entry pass into the paint, but compensated with Julian Champagnie pulling up over the Colgate defense for his 1,000th career point.
The Red Storm have struggled all season long to win the turnover battle, a linchpin of successfully executing the 40 minutes of hell. If the first half, there were signs of life from St. John’s in that capacity as the team forced 9 turnovers and turned the ball over only once themselves. Posh Alexander lead the way here with 3 steals.
The Johnnies played all four bigs in the first half. Esahia Nyiwe started the game, but picked up a pair of quick fouls in four minutes of play. Soriano checked in soon thereafter, however the offense only had him operate on the perimeter and left the game after getting hit in the head diving for the ball. Consequently, Mike Anderson had to rely on Omar Stanley, who has been an energizing force in limited minutes thus far, and Aaron Wheeler, who has not played legitimate minutes since the Kansas game.
Both Wheeler and Stanley were good for the Red Storm. Stanley did what Stanley does by running the floor effectively and being a menace by finishing around the rim. Wheeler was a Swiss-army knife of effectiveness in only seven minutes, as he scored 7 points (3/3 FG, 1/1 3PT), grabbed a pair of boards, picked up an assist, and had a steal.
On the back of a collective bench effort, the Red Storm pulled away to lead, 46-35.
The second half looked strikingly similar to the first half for St. John’s. The Johnnies were careful with the ball and looked crisp on the fast break.
Unlike the first half, however, there was no slow start to the half. There was only a methodical disruption of Colgate’s offense as well as a dissection of the Red Raider defense.
While there was a lot to like about how St. John’s played, this game was the third consecutive game where the opposing team’s guard had a big night. Colgate senior guard Jack Ferguson was largely Colgate’s only bright spot, as he scored 23 points (8/15 FG, 7/14 3PT).
Despite that negative note for the Johnnies, another bright spot is St. John’s bench starting to become a cohesive unit of its own. In the second half, Rafael Pinzon led the way for the Red Storm bench with 9 points (4/4 FG, 1/1 3PT), one rebound, and a pair of assists. Over the course of the game, the St. John’s bench score 34 points (15/31 FG, 4/11 3PT) while the Colgate bench only scored 8 points (3/13 FG, 2/6 3PT).
St. John’s pulled all of its starters with about a minute to go, and the bench closes out the victory over Colgate, 82-64.
St. John’s Red Storm
Julian Champagnie: 19 Points (7/12 FG, 5/7 3PT), 6 Rebounds, 1 Assist
Posh Alexander: 15 Points (7/14 FG, 0/2 3PT), 7 Rebounds, 4 Assists
Rafael Pinzon: 14 Points (6/8 FG, 2/4 3PT), 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists
Colgate Red Raiders
Jack Ferguson: 23 Points (8/15 FG, 7/14 3PT), 5 Rebounds, 1 Assist
Keegan Records: 11 Points (4/6 FG), 6 Rebounds, 5 Assists