A St. John’s basketball meeting might have helped turn its season around.
Each member of the St. John’s basketball program had his back up against the wall.
A season which began with so much promise was quickly crumbling and falling before everyone’s eyes.
The Johnnies had just gotten mauled at Creighton, what was thought to be a winnable game, after an encouraging loss on the road against UConn and a dominant home victory over Georgetown.
Mike Anderson’s team had four straight Quadrant 1 opportunities coming up and it all began with a home-and-home series with rival Seton Hall, beginning at Madison Square Garden.
St. John’s laid an egg with an ugly 66-60 loss which set up its next three games against the Pirates and No. 14 Villanova, both on the road, before No. 17 Providence came to Queens.
Another daunting task awaited in front of 1,400 Seton Hall students and the first Big East game at Walsh Gymnasium since 1985, but St. John’s rose to the occasion.
St. John’s basketball elevates its performance on court
The Johnnies (11-7, 3-4 Big East) never trailed in its 84-63 win over the Pirates, leading by as many as 21 in the first half and expanded its lead as high as 27 points in the second half, and it is all tied back to Sunday.
St. John’s met the day following its loss to Seton Hall to watch film on the game, but this film session was a little different. It was more of a meeting.
“We watched every second of the game,” Aaron Wheeler said after his team dismantled Seton Hall on Monday night.
“We had a lot of voices in the meeting,” Wheeler continued on if any one specific player said something that was impactful.
“Criticizing each other, but that’s what you gotta do…nobody took anything personal but we were able to figure out things in that film session.”
Wheeler has been one of the best players on the roster since Big East play began and that did not change on Monday night with a career-high 17 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists.
St. John’s figured out that pressure worked against a Seton Hall team that did not have its starting point guard, Bryce Aiken (concussion), for a second straight game.
It figured out that its smaller guards could not finish through the Pirate shot blockers.
And it figured out how to rebound.
“We weren’t rebounding, and we talked about that. We weren’t playing defense. We just talked about us being on top of each other on offense and we came out [Monday] and played better basketball,” Posh Alexander explained of what took place in the meeting.
Alexander came off the bench for the second time this season and put together one of his best performances with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals on 7-of-12 shooting.
“We played as a team, rebounded, and did what we were supposed to do.”
St. John’s was an underdog on Monday night and it will not be the favorite in its next two games — at. No. 14 Villanova and vs. No. 17 Providence — but if the Johnnies did what it was “supposed to do” on the road against Seton Hall, who knows what is coming next from this Red Storm team.