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St. John’s Hold Off Late Surge by Monmouth, 88-83

Johnnies hold on for a gritty win

Erin Tudryn

The Red Storm let a gritty Monmouth team back into the game, but hold on to win, 88-83.

The game was an interesting fusion of styles, rather than a contrast. The Red Storm dictated the pace, as both teams had at least 77 possession. However, the Hawks dictated that the game be a considerably physical contest.

Based on this games against Monmouth as well as the Fordham , Mike Anderson appears to be trying to maximize cohesive minutes with the Core Four - Posh Alexander, Montez Mathis, Dylan Addae-Wusu, and Julian Champagnie - while interchanging his bigs in based on matchups.

Erin Tudryn

The Core Four played at least 16 minutes apiece in the first half. However, when Anderson did not have his Core Four on the floor, he experimented with other looks, including a two-big look for a five minute stretch with Esahia Nyiwe and Omar Stanley.

Similar to the Fordham game, one guy for the opposing team dominated the half. Shavar Reynolds was unguardable when someone was on him and lights out when he was all-too-frequently unguarded. The senior guard was possibly the first guard this season to put Esahia Nyiwe in a blender when Nyiwe switched onto him defensively. Reynolds finished the half with 19 points (7/11 FG, 5/6 3PT).

Offensively, the Red Storm’s ball movement was not as crisp as it has been. The team only had 6 assists on its 15 made field goals, half of which came from Addae-Wusu alone. However, in isolation, the Johnnies were effective at getting to the free throw line, where they converted 10 of 12. In contrast, Monmouth only attempted three free throws and missed them all.

In a choppy, physical first half, St. John’s went into the half up 42-36.

After the break, the second half continued to be as physical as the first half. Unsurprisingly then, St. John’s arguably grittiest player, Posh Alexander, shined. Despite the sophomore guard’s perimeter shooting continues to struggle, Alexander found ways to get into the lane and create chaos for the Monmouth defense.

Erin Tudryn

Additionally, after disappearing in the first half, Julian Champagnie arrived. Champagnie not only put up a bulky 11 points in the half (5/11 FG, 1/4 3PT), but hit a three to prevent the Hawks from going on a run as well before a massive dunk soon thereafter.

The Johnnies genuinely benefited from one of the worst shooting performances of Monmouth guard George Papas’s life. The fifth year senior shot over 44% from deep coming into this game. However, despite regular clean looks, Papas scored 11 points and shot a dreadful 1 of 9 from beyond the arc.

Despite Papas’s rough shooting night and the Red Storm’s largely wrapping up of Reynolds, the Hawks hung around and gradually clawed their way back into the game. After only attempted three free throws in the first half, Monmouth aggressively attacked the basket resulting in their shooting 14 of 17 from the line after the break.

In response, St. John’s went small offensively to close the game with Champagnie playing as the sole big and Stef Smith playing alongside the Core Four. Defensively, Mike Anderson substituted Omar Stanley in and out for Stef Smith, who had one of his best scoring night as a Johnny with 13 points (5/8 FG, 3/4 3PT) despite struggling with foul trouble all night.

Papas was able to get the Hawks within two by converting all of his free throws after getting fouled on a three with less than a minute remaining. However, both teams traded a baskets forcing Monmouth to foul in order to get the ball back.

Addae-Wusu missed the second free throw, and Posh Alexander was able to force the ball off a Monmouth leg to retain possession. Alexander then went to the free throw line for two, made both of them, and St. John’s held off Monmouth, 88-83

St. John’s Red Storm

Posh Alexander: 21 Points (7/14 FG, 0/2 3PT), 5 Rebounds, 1 Assist

Julian Champagnie: 16 Points (6/16 FG, 2/6 3PT), 4 Rebounds, 5 Assists

Montez Mathis: 14 Points (5/10 FG, 1/2 3PT), 6 Rebounds, 5 Assists

Monmouth Hawks

Shavar Reynolds: 25 Points (10/18 FG, 5/8 3PT), 3 Rebounds, 2 Assists

Marcus McClary: 14 Points (5/12 FG, 1/4 3PT), 4 Rebounds