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St. John’s Struggles Early, Falls to Iowa State 71-60

Red Storm shell-shocked early in their first true road game of the season

St. Johns v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

A nightmarish first ten minutes created a deficit that St. John’s couldn’t overcome, falling to Iowa State, 71-60.

It was a truly ugly first half for the Red Storm due, in large part, to an even uglier first ten minutes for St. John’s. The Johnnies attempted only 5 field goals in first eight minutes and turned the ball over 9 times with Posh Alexander and Andre Curbelo contributing 3 apiece.

After ten minutes of play, Rafael Pinzon thankfully knocked St. John’s first field goal down with a three-pointer which seemed to wake up the Red Storm. As one could imagine, Iowa State dominated the first ten minutes by a score of 17-2.

However, over the next ten minutes, starting with the Pinzon three, St. John’s won that stretch 20-16 slowly chipping into the Cyclone lead. Helping lead the charge were Posh and Montez Mathis. After the early turnovers by Alexander, Posh only turned the ball over once during the final ten minute stretch of the half and was 3 of 5 from the floor in the final ten minutes to go along with a pair of steals.

Mathis, similarly, was 2 of 3 from the floor over the final five minutes of the half, and likely would’ve had 3 more points if not for an incorrect charge call. The duo combined for a 15 points (5-10 FG, 1-2 3PT) and kept the team within a run of the Cyclones.

At the half, St. John’s remained in near striking distance trailing 33-22.

In the second half, the Red Storm weren’t able to continue chipping away the large lead they gifted to Iowa State. The Cyclones came out and outworked and out-efforted the Johnnies closing the door on any comeback by St. John’s.

To make matters worse, Curbelo and Joel Soriano picked up their fourth fouls early in the second half. Both players each picked up a technical foul in the first half.

Aside from getting out-hustled by Iowa State, the Red Storm couldn’t generate offense off of turnovers or in the halfcourt. The Cyclones turned the ball over 12 times in the contest which the Johnnies only converted into only 9 points. With no fastbreak offense to speak of, St. John’s was forced to try to create offense in the halfcourt against one of the premier halfcourt defensive teams in the country.

St. John’s halfcourt offense this season has been limited to dumping the ball into Soriano in the post, Curbelo beating defenders in isolation, and David Jones taking heat-check threes. However, with both Soriano and Curbelo in foul trouble, not to mention Soriano not touching the ball and Curbelo not beating guys off the dribble for the majority of the game, the Red Storm offense seemed ill-equipped to compete with Iowa State’s halfcourt defense.

Jones wasn’t able to generate any offense for the Johnnies either, possibly due to playing a small-ball center in the second half with Soriano on the bench.

Conversely, Pinzon may have been the lone bright spot for the Red Storm in the halfcourt. While not particularly efficient on the day (13 points on 5 of 13 from the floor), Pinzon appeared to be the only player able to break down defenders and take what the defense gave him, leading to nearly exclusive good shots for the combo-guard.

St. John’s poor first ten minutes and lack of halfcourt execution in the second half resulted in their loss to Iowa State, 71-60.

St. John’s Red Storm

Posh Alexander: 14 points (5-11 FG, 0-1 3PT), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 8 turnovers

Rafael Pinzon: 13 points (5-13 FG, 2-5 3PT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist

Montez Mathis: 13 points (3-6 FG, 1-3 3PT), 4 rebounds

Iowa State Cyclones

Aljaz Kunc: 12 points (3-6 FG, 1-4 3PT), 8 rebounds, 3 assists

Caleb Grill: 7 points (2-6 FG, 1-3 3PT), 10 rebounds, 2 assists