St. John’s basketball relies on veterans in big second half against Lafayette

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

The veterans led the way for the St. John’s basketball team in the second half against Lafayette. 

There was improvement from the St. John’s basketball team in its second game of the season against Lafayette in Carnesecca Arena.

The Johnnies cut down from its 29 turnovers against Merrimack on opening night and the Red Storm vastly improved from the first half into the second half in its 83-68 victory against the Leopards (0-2).

“We played basketball. We just took care of the ball. That’s what we do,” head coach Mike Anderson said following the win.

“That was an anomaly.”

St. John’s coughed the basketball up ten times on Saturday night which led to 12 Lafayette points.

However, the Red Storm slept walked though the opening 20 minutes against the team picked to finish in last in the Patriot League and only led by two points at halftime.

The defensive rotations weren’t there. The shot selection was poor. And there was no semblance of an inside game whatsoever.

Then, something changed in the second half.

After Joel Soriano only attempted one shot in the first half, Anderson ran his first three sets of the second half through his center.

“I thought he was pretty tentative [in the first half],” Anderson said of his starting center.

Soriano proved his coach right by electrifying a Red Storm team that needed a spark with 13 points and eight rebounds in the final 20 minutes.

“I was very frustrated in the first half,” the 6-foot-11 big man explained.

“I came into the second half with a different mindset…I have to comeback more aggressive and demand the ball a little be more. I feel like when we play inside-out we are much more productive.”

Dylan Addae-Wusu also gave the Johnnies a jolt off the bench by showing off his improved shooting to the tune of 14 points while connecting on 4-of-5 attempts from 3-point range.

Posh Alexander and Andre Curbelo were relatively quiet but the point guard duo still combined for 16 points, eight rebounds, and 12 assists.

St. John’s basketball newcomer set pace in first half

As the Red Storm only led by two points at halftime it was the play of David Jones that was the reason the Johnnies were not trailing at the intermission.

Jones had 14 points at the break on 5-of-11 shooting as the DePaul transfer finished the evening with 20 points following his 21 point showing in the season opener.

“He’s a guy capable of getting buckets,” Anderson said.

St. John’s has one final tune up against Central Connecticut State (0-1) on Tuesday night (7p.m., FS2) before welcoming Nebraska (2-0) to Queens on Thursday night (6:30p.m., FS1) in the Gavitt Games.

Next. Montez Mathis showing potential in battle for minutes. dark