St. John’s took care of business in one of their final buy-games of the year, blowing out LIU 95-68.
This contest had another starting lineup shakeup with Montez Mathis out due to illness, Posh Alexander’s (concussion) return to the starting lineup, and Rafael Pinzon’s (ankle) availability off the bench. Filling in for Mathis was O’Mar Stanley, who started his second consecutive game.
Alexander’s and Pinzon’s return looked seamless early with Posh dumping the ball to a trailing Pinzon.
Rafael Pinzon back like he never left!!— St. John's Men’s Basketball (@StJohnsBBall) November 29, 2022
St. John's leads 24-9 pic.twitter.com/umuHUvhmki
Mathis’s absence was largely went without notice with how the Johnnies boat raced LIU. The first half was likely the best first half St. John’s has played this season. While the team has been notoriously slow starters this year, the Red Storm put KenPom’s 350th best team away early.
Joel Soriano had another near-double-double in the first half again with 12 points (6-8 FG) and 6 rebounds. I’ll probably go ahead and just pencil that sentence into every article recapping the non-conference game for the rest of the season.
Andre Curbelo nearly grabbed a double-double of his own in the first half as well, albeit one of a different kind with 10 points (4-6 FG, 0-1 3PT) and 5 assists. Curbelo and Soriano helped out each other’s cause with action like this.
Curbelo ➡️ Soriano pic.twitter.com/q8znUIMCLV— St. John's Men’s Basketball (@StJohnsBBall) November 30, 2022
St. John’s defense prevented LIU from doing anything. The Sharks shot an abysmal 0 of 10 from deep, where the Johnnies have been burned on occasion by the other schools my mother wouldn’t recognize, and turned the ball over 10 times to St. John’s vanilla pressure. LIU’s RJ Green had particularly rough half with 5 turnovers on his own.
At the half, the Red Storm had the Sharks doubled-up, 44-20.
Things didn’t get more competitive in the second half. After the under-12 minute media timeout, and the second half was largely played by Pinzon, Dylan Addae-Wusu, freshman AJ Storr, and Esahia Nyiwe, all of whom are looking to either cement or carve out their roles off the bench.
Nyiwe, who recent returned from a family matter, put an exclamation on his potential role as a two-way, rim-running big with a pair of slams, including this one.
Posh Alexander with a dime to Esahia Nyiwe for the SLAMMMM— St. John's Men’s Basketball (@StJohnsBBall) November 30, 2022
Also check the bench's reaction pic.twitter.com/t2iXLqO8VH
Pinzon converted a pair of threes in catch and shoot situations. The combo guard looked a little rusty at times as a secondary ball-handler. However, that will likely return if he can stay healthy for a considerable stretch this season.
The deep bench — Kolby King, Mohamed Keita, Drissa Traore — came in with under six minutes to play. Kolby, AJ Storr, and Keita each had a dunk but otherwise it was a quiet garbage time for the Johnnies.
We even got to see Parker Williams for the final two minutes before the game buzzer sounded with St John’s ahead of LIU, 95-68.
Next, St. John’s travels outside the five boroughs for the first time this year to take on Iowa State in Ames, Iowa on Sunday afternoon at 3:00.
St. John’s Red Storm
Andre Curbelo: 18 points (8-11 FG, 0-1 3PT), 8 rebounds, 7 assists
Joel Soriano: 16 points (8-10 FG), 10 rebounds, 1 assist
Posh Alexander: 12 points (5-9 FG, 2-4 3PT), 4 rebounds, 8 assists
Jacob Johnson: 17 points (7-11 FG, 3-3 3PT), 1 rebound, 1 assist
RJ Green: 13 points (6-10 FG), 1 rebound, 5 assists, 9 turnovers