The 2020-21 season got underway Wednesday night for the St. John’s Red Storm as they hit the court at Carnesecca Arena to play host to the Saint Peter’s Peacocks. A game was played ,to say the least, and it was certainly an entertaining game from the neutral perspective, but certainly not one for the faint of heart as the Johnnies managed to squeal out a come from behind win in the closing seconds.
From watching the game there were the apparent signs how abrupt the season has started, the lack of time given to preparation for the Red Storm to get embedded into the style of play that Mike Anderson likes. Wherever St. John’s, tonight Saint Peter’s was either right behind them, right beside them, or in front of them as it came real close to calling it a Peacocks win as they were in control and the Johnnies were left searching for their shot in the final stretch of the game. It was the newcomers Posh Alexander who managed to retrieve the ball and Vince Cole knocking down the three-pointer to give St. John’s the win though there is still a lot of room left to improve.
Still though, despite all the room left to improve there were a lot of flashes of promise from the Red Storm especially from the play of some of the newcomers to the roster. The three leading scorers for the Johnnies were all new players, with Vince Cole leading the way with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Posh Alexander added his spice with 16 points and seven rebounds for an excellent introductory start for the freshman. Rounding out the scoring was fellow JUCO transfer Isaih Moore with more good things for the Johnnies scoring 12 points and gathering 9 rebounds over the course of tonight’s game. Their play provide a major boost for the Red Storm tonight as Rasheem Dunn and Marcellus Earlington struggled at points in this game including absences to injury with both players taking hits to the face in tonight’s game and the loss of Julian Champagnie from the starting line up as well.
As a team, the Red Storm shot the ball at a rate of 41% from the floor on 24-of-59 shooting, 37% from the beyond the arc on 7-of-19 shooting, and 84% on 21-of-25 from the foul line. They out rebounded Saint Peter’s by a significant amount tonight with 42 total boards to the Peacocks 29 rebounds. St. John’s bench scored 33 of the Red Storm’s 76 points in tonight’s game.
On the Saint Peter’s side of things, the Peacocks shot the ball at a rate of 51% from the floor on 30-of-59 shooting, 43% from the beyond the arc on 9-of-21 shooting, and a meager 50% from the foul line on 6-of-12. KC Ndefo lead the way in scoring tonight with 16 points, but the most notable performance was the play of Daryl Banks III who posted a 13 point game all coming in the second half and one the major reasons why the Peacocks were able to stay in the game. Rounding out the scoring for the Peacocks was Fousseyni Drame with 12 points and Matthew Lee with 11 points.
With this one in the books, St. John’s now turns their attention to Thursday as they take on the La Salle Explorers as part of a feast of games on Thanksgiving. There is a lot of promise in this roster and Coach Anderson has his work cut out for him this season to mend and gel this team over the duration of this quixotic season.