St. John’s basketball uses new starting lineup in victory over Fordham

St. John's basketball guard Dylan Addae-Wusu (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball guard Dylan Addae-Wusu (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

The St. John’s basketball team had some new faces on the floor in its victory over Fordham. 

Head coach Mike Anderson felt the St. John’s basketball team needed a shake up and he provided it on Sunday night against Fordham (6-4).

The Johnnies (6-2) inserted Dylan Addae-Wusu and Esahia Nyiwe into its starting lineup in place of Stef Smith and Joel Soriano and it paid dividends in its 83-69 victory.

St. John’s looked much more efficient and confident, offensively and defensively, just one day after losing to No. 8 Kansas by 20 points.

“I’m all about opportunities,” Anderson said of his lineup changes. “The guys showed it to me in practice, so I gave them the opportunity.”

Posh Alexander put together his best game of the season with a career-high 23 points, four rebounds, and five assists while his high school teammate, Addae-Wusu, did it all for the Johnnies with his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 assists, in addition to four rebounds and four steals.

“You can see [Addae-Wusu] is ready to play now coming off the injury. He’s the glue guy, he makes us go and a lot of times, he makes Posh [Alexander] go, too,” Anderson explained about his two sophomore guards.

The Red Storm led by as many as 19 points in the second half but Fordham would not go away easily, cutting the St. John’s lead to single digits on multiple occasions in the closing minutes.

“It was a neighborhood brawl…they wouldn’t go away,” the St. John’s head coach continued.

ALSO READ: St. John’s picks up biggest victory of season against Seton Hall

However, the story of the game was the new look lineup for the Johnnies with featured Alexander, Addae-Wusu, Montez Mathis, Julian Champagnie, and Nyiwe.

Anderson rode his starting five for the large majority of the second half as he only played Joel Soriano and Stef Smith two minutes while Rafael Pinzon logged four minutes in the second stanza.

Nyiwe, who has slowly seen an increase in minutes over the last two weeks, proved he was worthy of getting the nod with seven points, eight rebounds, and three blocks.

“I didn’t want to take this opportunity for granted,” Nyiwe said after his first start at St. John’s.

“He brings athleticism. Blocking shots, playing around the rim,” Posh Alexander said of the new starting center for the Red Storm but it was the leadership that stood out the most to the St. John’s point guard.

“He talks a lot on the court. He helps others, telling us watch your back, watch the back door, screen left, screen right. Those are the things he brings to the team that we really appreciate and we enjoy being on the court with him,” Alexander continued.

Champagnie ended the night with 16 points and eight rebounds.

St. John’s basketball gets another uptick in talent

Fordham is an improving basketball program under first year head coach Kyle Neptune but the Rams are still not ready to compete at the top of the Atlantic-10 Conference. However, Fordham does seem like a better team than all of the other mid-majors St. John’s has played, with the exception of St. Peter’s.

That will not last long as the Johnnies will host Monmouth (7-1) and Colgate (3-6) next week as both programs have the ability to spring the upset.

The Hawks have won seven in a row after its season opening loss to Charlotte, including a victory over Cincinnati.

Colgate, despite a poor record, has a 3-point loss to NC State on its resume and a win on the road against Syracuse in which it scored 100 points.

It’s not the challenge of Indiana or Kansas but St. John’s will be tested in its next two outings.

Mike Anderson’s overall message to his team? “You gotta earn it.”

dark. Next. Takeaways from disappointing result against Kansas