Mustapha Heron helped catapult the St. John’s Red Storm into the win column Wednesday night. Heron’s 25 points ensured that head coach Mike Anderson’s tenure in Queens would start off right, as the Johnnies effortlessly defeated the Mercer Bears 109-79.
St. John’s got out and ran with it as they led 9-2 by the 17:27 mark in the first half. Their lead swelled up to 39-15 by the 8:21 mark, as they were having no problems scoring on the Bears defense. At the 4:07 mark, the Johnnies pushed the lead up to 30 points, but that was not hte largest lead they’d hold in the game. By the time the 1:51 mark in the second half came around, they were up by 34.
Needless to say, the Johnnies were in full control from bell to bell. They never relinquished the lead once. They outshot the Bears (although they were just clipped beyond the 3-opint arc), committed far less turnovers, outrebounded them (but were beaten on the offensive glass) and abused them in the paint and on the fast break.
Heron’s 25 points were a game-high on either side. He was one of five Red Storm players to hit double figures on the night. He, along with L.J. Figueroa (18), Marcellus Earlington (17), Nick Rutherford (14) and David Caraher (12) all had double-digit performances on the night. Josh Roberts came awfully close, finishing with nine points, and Julian Champgnie nearly started his Johnnies career off with a double figure performance, as he collected eight.
If there was anything somewhat worrisome from this game, it’s how the Johnnies played on the perimeter on defense. They allowed Mercer to shoot 43 percent from deep and hit 12 3-pointers. That’s definitely going to need to be cleaned up going forward, especially when they face the sharpshooters in the Big East Conference.
St. John’s will be in action again on Saturday when they play Central Connecticut.