The St. John's Red Storm move to 3-0 on the year after a 61-59 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
The Gavitt Games are an even 3-3 split after this matchup, with Creighton falling earlier int he night to No. 14 Indiana at Assembly Hall in Bloomington. The Red Storm engineered a second half comeback after falling behind 33-26 at the end of the first half, and found themselves down 45-29 at the 14:52 mark after a Mike Williams 3-pointer.
Bishop Daniels was the standout of the night, as the Raleigh, North Carolina native scored 21 points off the bench for the Scarlet Knights. Those 21 points are a career-high for the senior who has spent time at The University of Miami (FL) and ASA College in New York City.
For St. John's it was the terrific play out of the trio of Yankuba Sima, Ron Mvouika and Federico Mussini. Mussini, Mvouika and Sima combined for 39 points with Sima, Mussini each having 13 points.
Here's what we learned from this game.
1. The Red Storm are still seeing growing pains
Rutgers is one of the more meager clubs in the nation, especially in the Power Five -or Six, depending on your perspective - discussion. They gave this young St. John's team about all that they could handle before the wheels fell off. St. John's' time will likely come in the future but for now, games like this where they find themselves trailing and facing huge deficits will likely occur frequently in the 2015-16 season.
2. Federico Mussini is a legit hooper
A lot of hype surrounded the Italian point guard in the offseason as head coach Chris Mullin sung his praises along with Marcus LoVett Jr.'s as well. LoVett is a partial qualifier for this season so only one of the heralded point guards is on the floor this season for the Johnnies, and he's making the most of it. Mussini has gotten into double figures in each of his first three games as a college hooper, currently averaging a ripe 16.33 points per game. His shooting efficiency could certainly be better - especially tonight with a mark of 21.4 percent. But, there has to be a sense of optimism in the play of the 6-foot-1, 155-pound point guard from Reggio Emilia, Italy.
3. St. John's has some fight in them
I'm not often one to get all rah-rah when it comes to observing and analyzing teams. But, from a statistical standpoint, St. John's did not play their best game... at all. The Red Storm were beat in shooting percentage and turnovers but were able to win the rebounding game by a wide margin. That said, you will not often win games when you shoot under 35 percent from the floor and from the 3-point line as well. Not to mention the fact that St. John's only slightly eclipsed a 50 percent mark from the free throw line. So the effort they put forth in the second half indicates that this team is being very well-coached by Chris Mullin in the early stages and there is something to be said about their resiliency factor even as a fairly young group that hasn't played much with each other aside from practices in the offseason. They might not win many games, but this showing will be a hallmark for this year when we look back at them. Or maybe just an anomaly. Who knows?