St. John’s basketball laps LIU ahead of crucial showdown with Iowa State

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

The St. John’s basketball team ran circles around LIU on Tuesday night in Queens. 

Long Island University entered its matchup against the St. John’s basketball team as one of the worst teams in the country and it showed on Tuesday night in Queens.

Entering the game ranked No. 350 out of 363 teams in the KenPom Ratings, the Johnnies (8-0) ran the Sharks (1-5) off the floor, 95-68.

The Red Storm had the services of Posh Alexander (concussion) and Rafael Pinzon (ankle), both who missed Saturday’s victory over Niagara, while Montez Mathis (illness) was sidelined.

Alexander showed no signs of rust as he flirted with a triple-double with 12 points, four rebounds, and eight assists as he knocked down 2-of-4 3-pointers in the victory.

“It’s great to see [shots] go down. That’s what I have been waiting for,” the St. John’s point guard said.

“I needed to see one [3-pointer] go down just to build up my confidence.”

Alexander had missed his first eight attempts from beyond the arc this season before Tuesday night.

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Andre Curbelo also toyed with a triple-double with a team-high 18 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.

Joel Soriano, the nation’s leading rebounder, added his seventh double-double of the season with 16 points and ten rebounds while David Jones found his groove once again adding 14 points.

Pinzon tied a career-high 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor as he logged18 minutes.

“I think he’s gonna be pivotal. You’re seeing what he brings to the table…he’s one of our best shooters,” head coach Mike Anderson explained.

St. John’s basketball readies for massive road test

St. John’s can now finally turn the page to its biggest non-conference test of the season as the Johnnies visit No. 23 Iowa State (5-1) on Sunday afternoon.

The matchup could have major NCAA Tournament ramifications for the Johnnies as its previous non-conference games have not been very challenging while Florida State, the other perceived marquee game on the schedule, is still searching for its second win of the season.

“I feel like we’re good,” Alexander said of his team’s mindset going into Hilton Coliseum.

“We’re just going to take it day-by-day.”

The Cyclones were handed its first loss of the season in the Phil Knight Invitational Championship against No. 8 UConn (8-0), who along with No. 7 Creighton (6-1), have been the two best teams in the struggling Big East Conference this month.

“I think we pretty good basketball,” Anderson said of his team’s progress thus far in the season.

“When adversity takes place, I want to see how we respond…All games are important to us.”

A victory could catapult the Red Storm into the Associated Press Top-25 next week, which they earned one vote in this week, and cementing their status as a contender in the Big East and an NCAA Tournament caliber team.

Tipoff is slated for 3:00p.m. ET on ESPN2.