St. John’s basketball snaps five-game losing skid behind veteran, freshman

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 snapped its losing skid behind its veteran and freshman. 

It has not been a good start to the New Year for the St. John’s basketball team.

The Johnnies had lost five consecutive conference games entering Tuesday night’s matchup with Butler (10-8, 2-5 Big East) and its only win in the league came at home against DePaul in early December.

There’s no debate that this was a must win for the Red Storm.

St. John’s (12-6, 2-5 Big East) delivered the much needed victory, 77-61, in large part because of the play of veteran center Joel Soriano and freshman guard AJ Storr.

Soriano continued his dominant play while posting his NCAA leading 15th double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

“We finally got through that wall that was in front of us,” Soriano said.

Head coach Mike Anderson said the team officially named Soriano as the team’s captain on Tuesday afternoon.

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“He’s established himself as of the better big guys not only in our conference but, I think, in the country,” Anderson said.

Storr continues to emerge for the Red Storm, earning his second consecutive start, while adding 12 points in the victory.

“He’s a little bit more comfortable,” Anderson said of his four-star freshman.

“He brings something to the table that we need. We need someone to stretch the floor…but the thing I’m proud of AJ is taking pride on defense.”

Half of St. John’s eight made 3-pointers came from Storr and Rafael Pinzon, each logging over 20 minutes.

“We are seeing another guy that is a threat outside,” Anderson said of Pinzon.

“I love his moxie. He won’t back down from anybody.”

Posh Alexander and Andre Curbelo were clicking combining for 20 points, eight assists, and ten steals.

St. John’s basketball keeps focus on defensive side of the floor

It is very clear that St. John’s is focusing its efforts on the defensive side of the floor after allowing at least 83 points in each of its last four games.

“We know if we want to be one of the top contenders in this league, we have to play defense,” Soriano explained.

Butler was forced into 22 turnovers after 16 steals from the Red Storm in its victory.

“The first couple games this season I really haven’t been playing hanging my hat on defense,” Alexander explained.

“Guys have been blowing past my and starting with the Providence game I really told myself, ‘I have to get back to who I was back then.'”

“I really just locked in on defense and today shows what I can really do on defense.”

St. John’s defense must remained locked as the Johnnies travel to Hartford, Connecticut on Sunday to face the No. 6 Huskies (15-2, 4-2 Big East).