St. John’s basketball uses zone defense to overcome another slow start

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

The St. John’s basketball team switched to a zone defense in its victory on Tuesday night. 

Once again, the St. John’s basketball defense was porous.

Central Connecticut State was getting anything they wanted in the first half after shooting 53.8-percent from the floor and 46.2-percent from 3-point range.

The only time the Johnnies seemed to get stops in the opening 20 minutes was when it forced turnovers, something it did eight times.

However, much like Saturday’s victory over Lafayette, there were second half adjustments.

Head coach Mike Anderson switched to a zone defense and all of a sudden the Red Storm were getting stops, scoring, and pulling away from its 40-36 intermission lead.

“I just feel like we were all a step slow,” point guard Posh Alexander said.

“We practice zone, we practice man [to-man], we practice everything.”

Central Connecticut (0-3) was held to 28.6-percent shooting from 3-point range in the second half as the Johnnies (3-0) secured the victory, 91-74.

An 18-3 run in the second half, charged by the switch to the zone, was the difference in the game.

“We were more connected,” Alexander said comparing his team’s defense from the first half to the second half.

“We were all talking. We were more connected in the first half.”

Freshman AJ Storr, who led the team with a career-high 16 points, put the exclamation point on the game after a dunk off the backboard from Alexander.

“[AJ Storr] got the minutes and he was productive with those minutes,” Anderson said of his freshman guard.

“I think he’s just more confident, being more aggressive, being more assertive. Not necessarily on offense but I think we saw it on defense as well,” the St. John’s head coach continued.

Alexander finished with 12 points, five rebounds, and six assists while David Jones added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Storm.

St. John’s basketball offense continues to click

Many questioned the offensive prowess of St. John’s in the preseason but the Red Storm have shown that it is capable lighting up the scoreboard this season.

The Johnnies connected on 55.1-percent of its shots and entering Tuesday’s game the team had been shooting 54.6-percent from the field and 43.5-percent from downtown.

“We are sharing the ball and making the right reads,” Alexander said of his team’s start on the offensive side of the ball.

“We have some great guys that can hit 3-pointers on this team…we are just connected on the offensive end.”

St. John’s will play its first major conference opponent on Thursday as Nebraska (2-0) visits Carnesecca Arena in the Gavitt Games.