In the home finale on the season, St. John’s excelled in the final eight minutes of the game beating Xavier, 81-66.
In probably the most well-coached game of the season, St. John’s was effective out of time-outs and regularly were able to prevent massive swings of momentum.
Prior to the contest, St. John’s honored its seniors — Tareq Coburn, Stef Smith and Jalen Rosemond — for their contributions to the team.
After missing the last two games, of which the Red Storm dropped both, Joel Soriano made his return, which was very much felt in the first half. Prior to the break, the Johnnies regularly ran its offense through Soriano in the low post, where the big man produced 6 points on 3 of 5 from the field as well as 4 rebounds. Had Soriano not picked up a pair of fouls, he may have played more than 7 minutes in the half, but he may have had his minutes limited in his return from injury.
A beneficiary of the ball spending considerable time in the low post was Tareq Coburn. The guard had a couple good catch-and-shoot looks leading to his scoring 9 points on 2 of 3 from deep. Not only were his contributions on offense, but the guard also accumulated 3 blocks and a steal on the defensive end.
Another dime for Posh, another trey for Tareq pic.twitter.com/rk5qxJPrmk— St. John's Men’s Basketball (@StJohnsBBall) March 3, 2022
Defensively, the Red Storm prevented Xavier’s bigs, Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle from getting it going down for the Musketeers. The Johnnies had to use a handful of fouls with Soriano and Omar Stanley each picking up a pair of fouls and Esahia Nyiwe adding another of his own in a combined 16 minutes. However, the physical play affected Xavier’s finesse bigs, and Nunge and Freemantle combine for only 10 points on 3 of 9 from the field.
Coburns contributions paired with the underwhelming half by the Musketeer bigs helped St. Johns to a 33-29 halftime lead.
Up until the Under-12 minute timeout, the Red Storm appeared like the hungrier team slowly building an insurmountable lead that ended up never exceeding 12 points. Thereafter, the offense sputtered with there being multiple possessions akin to only Dylan Addae-Wusu and Nyiwe touching the ball on a possession.
With a sputter St. John’s offense, Xavier began chipping away at the lead over the next four minutes reducing to as little as 3 points.
Unlike many games this year, St. John’s called a timely time-out, regouped, and Posh Alexander and some shooters quickly rebuilt a respectable lead. Posh knocked down a pair of free throws and a layup with Coburn and Aaron Wheeler knocking each knocking down a three.
Julian Champagnie, relatively quiet up until this point, scored three possessions in a row to get the lead over double digits. Champagnie only had 6 points (2/6 FG, 0/2 3PT) and 5 rebounds before the break, but came alive in the second half to the tune of 13 points (5/9 FG, 0/3 3PT), 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.
While the game continued, Champagnie’s efforts late appeared to be enough to break the spirit of the Musketeers. Within the final minute, senior Jalen Rosemond got some run on Senior Night along with Artemios Gavalas, before St. John’s put away Xavier, 81-66.
St. John’s Red Storm
Tareq Coburn: 20 points (6/8 FG, 5/7 3PT), 1 rebound, 1 assist
Julian Champagnie: 19 points (7/15 FG, 0/5 3PT), 8 rebounds, 3 assists
Posh Alexander: 17 points (4/11 FG, 0/1 3PT), 7 rebounds, 8 assists
Colby Jones: 13 points (5/15 FG, 0/5 3PT), 6 rebounds, 1 assist
Jack Nunge: 12 points (3/8 FG, 1/3 3PT), 11 rebounds