St. John’s basketball crushes Sacred Heart behind Joel Soriano’s heroics

St. John's basketball center Joel Soriano (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball center Joel Soriano (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

The St. John’s basketball team dominated Sacred Heart from beginning until end. 

There was no playing around from the St. John’s basketball team on Wednesday night.

It knew it was better than Sacred Heart and did not take long to show it on the court.

The tone was set by Joel Soriano, who was on a mission to prove he can excel in all facets of the game.

“He’s not a really good passer,” Rick Pitino recalled after the Red Storm’s 85-50 victory of what assistant coach Van Macon told him about the senior prior to the season.

“He’s been working really, really hard to prove that wrong.”

Well, he did against the Pioneers (4-6).

Prior to the first media timeout, Soriano already had three rebounds and two assists. He wasn’t looking to score against a team that was at a significant height disadvantage, but rather set up his teammates for easy looks.

He was flirting with a triple-double at halftime with 12 points, nine rebounds, and four assists and inched himself closer throughout the second half before he was removed from the game with 12:20 remaining.

“We knew [Sacred Heart] double [teamed] a lot…I knew my teammates were going to be open,” Soriano said after his 18-point, 13-rebound, and 6-assist performance which saw him go 6-for-9 form the field and move to 6-of-7 from 3-point range on the season after drilling another triple

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“I just try to find the open man whenever I can, especially if I am going to be double [teamed] a lot.”

Pitino called Soriano’s performance “not only great but highly intelligent.”

“He’s doing everything [on the court] that a great player should do,” the Hall of Famer said.

Daniss Jenkins and Jordan Dingle were two of the primary beneficiaries of the unselfishness from Soriano as the backcourt duo combined for 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting — the only three players to reach double figures in the victory.

St. John’s basketball appears ready to take next step

St. John’s saw 11-of-12 players that entered the game score at least two points and shot 46.3-percent from the field and 41.4-percent from 3-point range.

It was a win that will not create a lot of chatter around the Red Storm but must be looked at in a positive light and a sign of improvement from a team that is still trying to find its best stride with Big East play quickly looming.

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“Each day is another day to get 1-percent better…there’s always room for improvement,” Joel Soriano explained.

“I think we are improving, taking baby steps. We’re getting better and better each game we play,” Rick Pitino added. “We see the improvement individually.”

St. John’s (6-2) will face another power conference opponent on Sunday afternoon (4:30p.m. ET, ESPNU) when the Johnnies make its season debut in the Barclays Center against Boston College (6-3).

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