St. John’s basketball responds quickly in Big East opener against DePaul

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

The St. John’s basketball team responded quickly after suffering its first loss of the season. 

A loss to No. 23 Iowa State on Sunday opened the eyes of St. John’s basketball head coach Mike Anderson to what his team needed to get better at.

A faster start to the beginning of the game was one of those things the Red Storm had to work on and the Johnnies came out of the gates flying in its Big East opener against DePaul in Queens.

St. John’s (9-1, 1-0 Big East) started the game on a 12-0 run in the opening five minutes and never looked back, winning 86-67.

“We all saw our performance at Iowa State and we wanted to pick it up a little bit,” center Joel Soriano said.

Soriano posted his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds as the short handed Blue Demons (5-4, 0-1 Big East) could not control the 6-foot-11 center.

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The game meant a little more to Red Storm forward David Jones, who transferred to St. John’s from DePaul this offseason.

Jones finished with 11 points and eight rebounds on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor but looked like he had a little more intensity in his game in the first half.

“For me it was like a regular game,” Jones said after the victory. “My coaches and teammates told me to keep my head in the game.”

However, David Jones was given a little extra motivation prior to the game when he went to shake hands with some of his former teammates on DePaul before the game and they did not reciprocate.

“We are about to play basketball right now. Let’s see,” Jones recalled of his mindset during the brief interaction. “That’s what I was a little bit hyped about.”

The outcome of the game was never in doubt as DePaul tried to climb back into the game but St. John’s would ultimately push its lead to as many as 24 points, 84-60, late in the second half.

St. John’s basketball gets back to playing at its pace

Wednesday night was easily the most complete game of the season for St. John’s with its entire starting five reaching double figures and its defense forcing 14 turnovers, which resulted in 16 points.

Posh Alexander controlled the pace of the game with 13 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three steals as Andre Curbelo added 15 points, five assists, and three steals.

“I thought he had an effect on the game without even making a jump shot,” Anderson said of Alexander, who started 1-of-10 from the field but finished making his final three attempts.

“I believe in him and he believes in himself.”

Montez Mathis left the game in the second half due to an ankle injury and did not return. Anderson did not have an immediate update on the redshirt senior following the game.

St. John’s will wrap up its brief two game home-stand with a non-conference matchup against New Hampshire (3-5) on Saturday evening (6:00p.m. ET, FS2) before finishing its out-of-conference schedule against Florida State (1-9, 0-1 ACC) in the Orange Bowl Classic on December 17.