St. John’s basketball: Short-handed Johnnies hold on to sneak by FDU

St. John's basketball guard Montez Mathis (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball guard Montez Mathis (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

A short-handed St. John’s basketball team had enough to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson. 

Coming off its first loss of the season against Indiana, the St. John’s basketball team was handed more adversity prior to Saturday night’s game against Fairleigh Dickinson.

Freshman guard Rafael Pinzon, who was forced into heavy action against the Hoosiers, was ruled out with a broken left ring finger that he suffered in practice on Friday, per a source.

The Johnnies (3-1) were also without Hofstra transfer guard Tareq Coburn with a non-COVID related illness, the team announced prior to the game.

However, the Red Storm would still have enough ammunition left to sneak by the Knights (0-3), 87-74.

Julian Champagnie could not get the ball to go in the basket against Fairleigh Dickinson as the leader of the Johnnies was 6-of-19 from the floor, 1-of-7 from deep, but still finished with a team-high 17 points.

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After suffering its first loss of the season, it was St. John’s who looked slow and lethargic for most of the game as Fairleigh Dickinson closed what was a 22-point deficit in the second half to nine with less than four minutes to play.

Despite its struggles, St. John’s never trailed in the game.

The shooting was poor from the Red Storm (5-of-22 from 3-point range) while the Knights began to catch fire in the final minutes of regulation to climb back in the game.

Fairleigh Dickinson was 10-of-20 from downtown behind 24 points from Devon Dunn.

The Johnnies turned the ball over 15 times in its victory, resulting in 14 points for the Knights.

“I don’t think we played our best basketball,” Champagnie said after the victory.

St. John’s did see each of its starters score double-digits in the win.

St. John’s basketball must clean things up ahead of second showdown

St. John’s only has two games left on its schedule before its massive matchup with No. 3 Kansas on December 3 at the new UBS Arena at Belmont Park.

“We have to be better as a team, defensively and offensively,” Champagnie said.

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The Red Storm will play host to St. Francis (Brooklyn) on Tuesday night before welcoming in NJIT next Saturday afternoon.

Head coach Mike Anderson said the team would know more about the status of Rafael Pinzon on Monday after he visits with doctors and St. John’s is hopeful Tareq Coburn will play on Tuesday night.

Next. 5 things learned from loss to Indiana. dark