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St. John’s Wins Ugly Against UNH, 64-51

Red Storm escape a loss in a buy game, close out their out of conference on Saturday against Florida State

NCAA Basketball: New Hampshire at St. John Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

In an ugly rock fight of a game, St. John’s pulls away late to beat the University of New Hampshire, 64-51.

On St. John’s ugly sweater night, the Red Storm’s play was considerably uglier than the giveaway sweaters for most of the night.

It’s one of those weird games where St. John’s has started conference play but somehow still has this buy game on their schedule. Regardless, there’s nothing that can be done about the schedule now except to play the games.

Montez Mathis and O’Mar Stanley did not appear to suit up for this contest, and Mathis was replaced in the starting lineup by Rafael Pinzon, whose play as of late has effectively demanded more playing time.

To put it politely, the first half was a rock fight. St. John’s should have been up by 8 more points than they were, but they left a lot of points at the rim. The team was collectively 5 of 13 at the rim. Some of those misses were the officials letting both teams play while the Johnnies, instead of finishing through contact, were left looking at the officials with their palms up.

To New Hampshire’s credit, they did an effective job bottling up Joel Soriano. Soriano was doubled on every touch in the post, and was only able to attempt four shots. Soriano came in averaging half an assist per game, but was able to pick up 2 assists in the first half. The big man like would have had more, but the Red Storm struggled in catch and shoot situations from deep, only shooting 1 of 11 from beyond the arc.

With St. John’s offensive woes, UNH was able to score enough to hang around with the Johnnies up at the half only 25-22.

Most of the second half followed the recipe for an upset. The favorite lets the dog just hang around, and the dog make a couple extra plays down the stretch.

Fortunately, the Johnnies went on a 10-0 run to give the Red Storm enough cushion to coast through the rest of the game like they had up to that point.

AJ Storr scored 8 of those points during that run. The freshman guard got hot for a two-minute stretch, helping him turn in the best game of his young college career. Storr finished the contest with 13 points (5-9 FG, 3-4 3PT) and 4 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.

UNH responded by cutting St. John’s lead to 4 before David Jones lead the Red Storm on another 7-0 run by converting a couple of layups and a free throw, resulting in just enough cushion for a win. Offensively, Jones had an inefficient night. Jones had more field goal attempts than he did points for most of the contest (20 on 8 of 20 from the floor), but a late, meaningless three made the scoring line look even. However, the junior wing added a lot of the defensive end of the floor by contributing 4 steals and 3 blocks.

That run was enough for the Johnnies to run the clock for the final two minutes, and St. John’s beat the University of New Hampshire, 64-51.

Next, St. John’s closes out its out of conference schedule by playing Florida State in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic on Saturday at 2:30 at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida.

St. John’s Red Storm

David Jones: 20 points (8-20 FG, 1-6 3PT), 12 rebounds

Joel Soriano: 14 points (5-9 FG), 14 rebounds, 3 assists

AJ Storr: 13 points (5-9 FG, 3-4 3PT), 4 rebounds

New Hampshire Wildcats

Matthew Herasme: 14 points (6-11 FG, 2-7 3PT), 10 rebounds, 1 assist

Clarence Daniels: 11 points (5-17 FG, 1-5 3PT), 11 rebounds, 2 assists