“Way to dig deep and finish out the game. It was a great atmosphere and love the energy at home. Let’s get back to work and build on it.”
So shared Dylan Addae-Wusu, who finished the game against Georgetown with a stat line of 15 points, three rebounds, four assists, and only one turnover in 32 minutes of playing time. As Georgetown collapsed their defense making it hard for the Johnnies’ leading scorer, Joel Soriano, to find unobstructed field goal opportunities, Addae-Wusu hit four out of six from three-point range to take advantage of the Hoyas’ strategy.
Of course, the most important three-pointer came from freshman, A.J. Storr. After missing his first three three-point attempts, Storr took a feed from Andre Curbelo and calmly hit a three from just left of the top of the paint to vault the Johnnies into the lead for the first time in the second half. Then Curbelo knocked the Hoyas’ long pass up the court out of bounds leaving the Hoyas less than two seconds to counter the Storr field goal. They were unsuccessful and the Johnnies earned a hard-earned victory, 75 to 73.
Johnnies assist each other
Other than Esahia Nyiwe, who played but eight minutes stepping in to give Soriano a break, every Johnnie on the floor had an assist — and this is without Posh Alexander, sidelined with a foot injury.
A.J. Storr led the way with five assists, followed by Addae-Wusu with four. All in all, the Johnnies had 19 assists on 29 made baskets, a 65% rate. No assist was bigger than the one from Curbelo. With under 10 seconds to play, Curbelo drove down right of the paint, curled under the basket right to left and passed to Storr — who hit a three to put the Johnnies in the lead with four seconds to play.
The ability to share the ball and have good court vision to make the correct pass at the right time has not always been observed amidst the Red Storm. During the afternoon of January 29, 2023, the Johnnies made right decisions most of the time and when it was most needed.
Only 12 turnovers
At the half the Johnnies had committed 10 turnovers to Georgetown’s six. In the second half they committed only two. Of these 12 there could have been less if the Red Storm players did not, on several occasions, try to drive through a double team and lose the ball. Halftime adjustments clearly corrected these errors.
It may have seemed like more but during the 14-0 Georgetown run in the last four minutes of the half but there were only three Red Storm turnovers.
What happened during those four minutes? After a Storr steal and breakaway dunk put the Johnnies up by 10, the Red Storm missed two open shots, gave up several offensive rebounds to Georgetown, and turned the ball over two times.
Coach Anderson called a timeout but a Hoya steal and several additional putback attempts by the Hoyas led to a Soriano foul and two made free throws. This put Georgetown ahead with a minute to play. A long three-pointer by Brandon Murray with less than a second on the clock found the Johnnies down at the half by four 39-35.
Clarity to player’s roles?
A.J. Storr was named Freshman of the Week for the Big East for the second time in the past two weeks. David Jones had a special day, scoring 17 on 7/11 shooting in 27 minutes of play. He also took down seven rebounds, six on the defensive end.
Joel Soriano continues his league-leading performance at the center position. With Posh Alexander, out Dylan Addae-Wusu has filled in capably, adding a three-point shot. He also seems to be emerging as a vocal co-leader on the team with Soriano.
These four seemed to have risen to the occasion.
O’Mar Stanley started the Georgetown game and performed capably. Andre Curbelo provides energy, particularly on offense. Each can be called upon depending on who the opponent is. A team with strength in the forecourt would suggest extra playing time for Stanley.
Rafael Pinzon continues to fight through injuries this time his ankle and Kolby King took advantage of his opportunity to play against Georgetown and scored five points in his eleven minutes of play.
With Posh Alexander reportedly suffering a high ankle sprain, someone will have to step up.
In recent years under Mike Anderson (and even Chris Mullin), St. John’s teams have often started the Big East season slowly only to perform better in the second half of the season. Last year’s squad began the Big East season 3-6 and played an even 5-5 over the last 10 games. They went on handily defeat DePaul in the tournament only to lose a one-point heartbreaker to Villanova in the second game.
Is history to repeat itself?
The Johnnies have nine games left. Five are away and four are home. Of the away games three are against teams below them in the standings which they defeated at home. Of the remaining home games, the games against Seton Hall, Connecticut, and Providence would appear to be competitive games. Winning two of the three is a real possibility. An upset in one of the more challenging games is always a possibility for this team that has yet to play consistently.
Dylan Addae-Wusu stated it best, “let’s build on this”. The build starts against Seton Hall tonight.