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Coburn, Smith stepping up for St. John’s in limited minutes

The Red Storm have a pair of guards who have added solid contributions in the past five games.

Chris Hagan

As St. John’s gets closer to the Big East Tournament and the spectacle that is March Madness, the team has gotten some solid contributions from guards Stef Smith and Tareq Coburn — even as the usual suspects have been inconsistent for Mike Anderson’s team.

In their matchup against Villanova and Creighton Smith showed he could help the Red Storm stay close. Against the Wildcats, Smith scored 12 points, showing his ability to score when needed.

In the Wednesday loss against Creighton, Smith chimed in with 13 points in 19 minutes (and as some noted, could have been used down the stretch). Smith has shot 5/15 from outside the arc in the last five games, and has been a solid contributor whether he gets single-digit minutes or not. Against both Creighton and Xavier, he was a big boost to the St. John’s fortunes.

In the Johnnies matchup against Xavier, Coburn chipped in with 13 points and two steals. For teams that back off to prevent the Red Storm from getting to the rim, Coburn can be a solid counter with the threat of his outside shot when he plays. He was a +10 (per 100 possessions) for St. John’s when he was on the floor against Xavier, though less impactful against Creighton and Butler.

Thus far in the 2021-22 season, Stef Smith averages six points per game, with Tareq Coburn averaging four points per game.

Both players have shown they can be quality key rotational players; and if St. John’s can gel for the final three regular season games and whatever comes in the Big East Tournament, both players could be big x-factors for the Red Storm.