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Red Storm Double-Up SNHU, 82-41

Johnnies sweep their domestic exhibition schedule, the non-conference schedule starts Monday

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-St. John vs DePaul Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

After a long offseason, Red Storm basketball is back for its second of its two pre-season exhibitions where the Johnnies defeat the Southern New Hampshire University Penmen of Division II, 82-41.

It was a slow start for St. John’s, who did not amass a double-digit lead against the Division II program until after the nine-minute mark in the first half. After the first couple tv-timeouts, St. John’s utilized its size advantage (Footnote 1) against a Penmen team made up of athletes 6’7” and shorter, and threw the ball into Joel Soriano in the post.

Andre Curbelo, Dylan Addae-Wusu, and Mohamed Keita (Footnote 2) were the first three off the bench for the Red Storm. After Posh Alexander went to the bench, Curbelo inherited the role of primary ball-handler, raising questions about the role of Rafael Pinzon, who missed the game with an apparent ankle injury, with the second unit.

Largely due to offensive contributions from Curbelo and Montez Mathis, the Johnnies began to pull away. Curbelo finished the half with 7 points (3-6 FG, 0-1 3PT) and 3 assists with Mathis adding 8 points (3-5 FG, 2-3 3PT).

After shooting 32% from deep on more than 7 attempts a game during the Dominican Republic exhibitions, David Jones struggled to find his stroke in the first half. Jones attempted 4 threes in the first half and did not convert any of them. Despite his shooting woes, Jones still added 6 points (2-7 FG), and 6 rebounds, 3 of which were offensive rebounds, to finish with a productive half.

After a near buzzer-beater by SNHU’s Ryan Layman, St. John’s went into the half leading 35-26.

Halftime adjustments were huge for the Johnnies after the break. The Red Storm started the half with a 11-0 run with Soriano scoring 5 of those points.

Similar to exhibition season last year, Joel Soriano had a strong showing. Soriano finished the game with 14 points (6-10 FG) and 8 rebounds. If Soriano can maintain his consistency over the course of the season, (Footnote 3) St. John’s will have another way to create offensive by throwing the ball to him in the post or passing it to the big man on a roll. Soriano should be the beneficiary of many fun assists and hockey assists this season similar to this one.

While the Red Storm amassed a sizeable lead against SNHU, it was not done so in a way that the Johnnies will have to score against Big East opponents. SNHU only had 17 turnovers, comparable to the nearly 15 turnovers the considerably more talented Big East averaged against St. John’s last season. Additionally, the Johnnies only had 19 points off those turnovers and were 16 of 29 on shots at the rim. St. John’s will need to force more turnovers and be more efficient at the rim if they want to compete in the Big East this season.

The walk-ons Jason Simpson and Parke Williams came on for St. John’s with a couple minutes remaining, and the Red Storm sweeps its domestic exhibition schedule by doubling up SNHU, 82-41. The non-conference schedule begins Monday November 7th at 6:00 PM against Merrimack College at Carnesecca Arena.

St. John’s Red Storm

Joel Soriano: 14 points (6-10 FG), 8 rebounds, 3 assists

Montez Mathis: 13 points (5-8 FG, 3-5 3PT), 2 rebounds, 3 assists

Posh Alexander: 11 points (4-9 FG, 1-3 3PT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists

Southern New Hampshire University Penmen

Noah Kamba: 9 points (3-7 FG, 3-5 3PT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists

Matt Becht: 8 points (2-11 FG, 2-9 3PT), 4 rebounds

(1) Watching this was kind of like a strawberry banana smoothie. It’s a little basic and a little boring, but has anyone ever complained about getting a free strawberry banana smoothie?

(2) Seeing another “Keita” on St. John’s might give me undesirable flashbacks to the Jarvis coaching era. At least he’s not wearing number 0.

(3) At the end of last season’s non-conference schedule, Soriano came off the bench for four games and averaged fewer than 18 minutes a game and only scored in double-figures once. after averaging nearly 9 points per game in the first six games of the season.