Vince Cole’s clutch shooting saves St. John’s basketball against Rider

St. John's basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

Clutch shooting from junior guard Vince Cole saved the St. John’s basketball team from a catastrophic loss.

Much like its comeback victory over St. Peter’s in the season opener, Vince Cole saved the day for the St. John’s basketball team on Tuesday night against Rider.

Cole scored 12 of the team’s final 14 points against the Broncs, resulting in 26 points, tying his career high, which he also hit in the victory over the Peacocks, as the Johnnies (5-1) defeated Rider (0-2), 82-79.

“I just have a lot of confidence. I know my team believes in me and Coach [Anderson] believes in me. I don’t really look at the Saint Peter’s game, I just really look at everything since then because I got the trust in the team,” Cole said after the victory.

However, prior to Cole’s late game heroics, St. John’s saw themselves down by 11, 48-37, and a comeback led by Marcellus Earlington got the Johnnies back on even footing with Rider.

Head coach Mike Anderson knew his junior forward was going to have a big night before he even stepped on the floor.

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“He had been pressing a little bit and he and I had a visit yesterday and said I thought he was going to have a good game tonight. I thought he went back to being that player he was last year at the end of the season,” Anderson explained.

Earlington finished with 16 points and five rebounds on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor.

“He brought it tonight and he was really efficient, so that is the Marcellus we have to have especially in conference play. He is a guy that has been through the wars, so he can hopefully be a leader for our team.”

Despite feeling good about its victory, Cole knows his team didn’t put its best foot forward Tuesday night, “Energy, energy, was the one thing that we were lacking. ‘Flat’ that’s one of the words [Coach Anderson] used. We came out real flat and we were just slow on the energy part today.”

St. John’s basketball has a lot to improve on before Big East play

Tuesday was the perfect trap game set up for the Red Storm.

St. John’s secured its bounce-back win against Stony Brook win following its only loss of the season against BYU and all its had was lowly Rider before its showdown with rival Seton Hall before conference play begins.

“You have got to give Rider credit, they had nothing to lose and everything to gain because everybody thought that we would go out there and beat them…You cannot look at the names on the jerseys, you have got to come play,” Anderson said.

Rider shot 49.1-percent from the floor and 45.8-percent from 3-point range, while Rodney Henderson Jr. led the way with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.

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Four of eight players that saw the floor reached double-digits for the Broncs and aside from Cole’s heroics, would have walked out of Carnesecca Arena with its first victory of the season.

St. John’s can now look at its non-conference schedule in the rearview mirror as Big East play begins on Friday against Seton Hall (3-3).

“We are an effort team and that’s what we do, we provide a lot of effort and a lot of energy.  Going into conference play, that is what we need to provide; a lot of effort and a lot of energy and that’s our brand, that’s what we do,” Cole said.

The Johnnies make the trip to the Prudential Center on Friday afternoon at 4:30pm EST (CBS Sports Network) to begin the season conference slate for Mike Anderson in Queens.

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