After an absolutely abysmal first half, St. John’s was able to claw their way to a comeback win over the Saint Mary’s Gaels 53-47.
Brad Waldow gave the Red Storm everything they could handle, with 26 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to upset the #20 team in the nation in St. John’s.
Besides Brad Waldow, who went 12-23 from the field, the Gaels were a combined 6-29 from the floor committing 16 turnovers in the process.
Though one of the best post players in the nation, Waldow's strong game highlights a year-long weakness for St. John's - rebounding.
Coming into the game the Red Storm was 29th in the nation in rebounding at 40.8 per game and 5th in defensive rebounding at 29.6 per game. Strong numbers. But the Red Storm haven't been great on the glass, and they allowed 15 offensive rebounds to St. Mary's. Overall, against the Gaels the Johnnies were outrebounded 47-29 and managed only 21 defensive boards.
This was a recipe for disaster, holding back St. John’s from fast break opportunities and forcing them to run half court sets.
Sir`Dominic Pointer did his part with 11 rebounds (10 defensive), and 5 assists pushing the ball in transition off of Gaels misses.
Joey Delarosa made his season debut with 12 minutes of action while Chris Obekpa sat with foul trouble.
He collected two blocks and one rebound, showing decent ability in being a post presence for a team lacking size in the frontcourt.
But will he be enough help for the Red Storm? Those are not numbers that ill send any St. John's regular to the bench, but his ability to be a big body helped blunt the assault of the Gaels in the first half, before the Johnnies made halftime adjustments.
The Johnnies excel with a small lineup, but at some point, the team will have to defend large post players and end possessions with a defensive rebound. Keith Thomas was supposed to be a huge help in that regard, but he was deemed ineligible after Westchester Community College transcript inconsistencies.
Adonis Delarosa (Joey's younger brother) was supposed to help in limited minutes, but he is still waiting to hear the NCAA's verdict on his grades/ SAT scores.
Amar Alibegovic and Christian Jones get some minutes, but haven't provided the post presence the Red Storm need.
St. John's has the young and undersized Long Beach State next, and the guard-oriented Tulane afterwards. But when Seton Hall comes?
The Red Storm will have to work around the problem at times all season. But the strong debut of Joey Delarosa gives hope that even on days when Obekpa needs to sit, there is some size waiting in the wings.