Tonight was a game of firsts. In the first game for St. John's, they played host to the Wagner Seahawks. It was the first official game of Chris Mullin's coaching career, as well as the first game for a number of players on the St, John's roster. Through all the firsts, they were able to come out with a 66-57 win in a game that was marked with a back and forth pace of play.
Back and forth is really the best way to describe this game, as the lead changed hands 19 times and the pace of play was never fully in control by either side at Canesecca Arena. For the Johnnies tonight, their play was slightly sloppy at times, but they were able to hold on and demonstrate composure late in the game. Demonstrating composure will be big with the youth on this team going forward.
The high marks for St. John's tonight were the play of Yankuba Sima underneath the basket, and Fredrico Mussini up and down the floor. Mussini was the leading scorer for St. John's this evening, as he finished the game with 18 points, among which included a clutch three late in the second half add a little extra distance to St. John's lead. Sima, who finished tonight with eight points, was a force at getting to the ball. He also finished with 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. One significant takeaway from Sima's play tonight was his position from the basket, as he was able to force the Seahawks' inside shooters into awkward spots.
Overall though, it was a game that saw everyone on St. John's contribute. Mussini's offensive production was followed up by 12 points from Durand Johnson and nine points by Ron Mvouika. Malik Ellison also showed flashes of brilliance, as he got the ball rolling early on with two three-pointers.
On the Wagner side, they were able to hang tough in this game, and, at times, looked like they were going to run away with the game, which included a 10-0 run midway through the second half. They were able to get significant production from Dwaun Anderson who had 11 points, Japhet Kadji with 14 points, and Corey Henson with 14 points.
While it was a nice way for St. John's to start off their season, going forward they still have a lot to work on. The biggest things to work on are llimiting turnovers as well as avoiding sloppy possessions.
NEXT GAME: The Red Storm (1-0) take on the UMBC Retrievers Monday night.