The St. John's Red Storm are off to their best start in 24 years after their 66-49 victory over the Long Beach State 49ers.
With D'Angelo Harrison struggling on his end of the floor, others had to step up for the Johnnies, and they got contributions from three other starters. Phil Greene IV, Sir'Dominic Pointer and Chris Obekpa combined for 43 points with Obekpa and Greene leading the charge with 16 apiece.
Long Beach State guard Mike Caffey showed up to Queens with a 13-point performance but two other 49er starters were held scoreless throughout the course of the contest. Temidayo Yussuf and Jack Williams were held to an abysmal 0-for-14 mark from the floor as the Red Storm defense clamped down in a big way on Monday night.
The win pushes St. John's to 10-1 which is their best start to a season since the 1990-91 season, when they were still known as the Redmen.
Here are three things we learned from this gam:
1. Chris Obekpa achieved a career high in scoring and was the top performer of the night
If Obekpa puts on performances such as these going forward, the threat of someone else contributing if the Johnnies' star guard in D'Angelo Harrison can't get it going could make this Red Storm threat a major and viable contender in the Big East going forward. In addition to his 16 points, a career-high for the Makurdi, Nigeria native, the big man grabbed eight rebounds, picked up two steals and had a ridiculous six blocks.
2. St. John's' defense is nothing to mess with
Coming into the night, Long Beach State wasn't a great offensive club, but they were above average. On Monday, they looked dreadful and that was thanks in part to a Red Storm defense that we may have to start defining as one of the best in the nation. They held the 49ers to a 20-for-62 mark from the field (32.3%) and 7-for-22 from the 3-point line. They had few opportunities at the line as well, garnering only six, and making just two. We'll see how this translates going into the Big East portion of the season, but for right now, the Red Storm's defense is nothing if not lethal.
3. The Red Storm's 3-point shooting woes don't seem to be going away any time soon
This might just be a necessary evil we're going to have to accept with this St. John's team. Tonight they shot 3-for-15 from downtown, a hearty 20 percent -- after coming in with a 3-point field goal percentage ranked 250th in the country. It hasn't quite cost them yet but it also doesn't appear to be venturing that way. The Red Storm just keep on winning and at the end of the day, that might be what matters the most.