Coming into tonight's game there were questions earlier on about how St. John's would fair in their first match up of the regular season.
Some of the questions ranged from how will D'Angelo Harrison start off the season? To will Chris Obekpa live up to expectations? Well after forty minutes on the court, it is safe to say that St. John's were not only comfortable against the Highlanders of NJIT, but in total control from the onset of the game.
The other question of how will the team fair with the absence of the JaKarr Sampson, was quickly irrelevant from the onset as the team looked like a well oiled machine tonight. T
he Sampson question though will be a looming one for the duration of most of the season though, and is definitely an open ended question for the team to answer going forward.
At the end of the first half, the Johnnies held a 37-19 lead over NJIT and became clear for the most part that the score would not be the most important item on the agenda for tonight's game, but rather the beginning of Lavin's strategy for this season.
Early on the strategy that was put into place was to get the guards involved from the onset with a full court press that looked to trap NJIT in the corners of the back court. Eventually the trap and press was replaced with a half court approach, but it did bring the guard play quickly into the fold.
On offense, the moves were based on quick assists and an anchoring to center Chris Obekpa who finished the first half with 10 points for the Johnnies. Obekpa would finish the night with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, but he would not be the only member of the team to accomplish this feat, as Sir'Dominic Pointer would finish with 13 points and 10 rebounds as well.
In all, the Johnnies looked extremely well rounded, especially as the second half of the game was an exact replay of the first half, except this time around the guards took over, which seemed interesting given the fact that several of the players were either in or near foul trouble by the end of the second half as Jamal Branch and D'Angelo Harrison would be extremely limited in the second half of the game. Rysheed Jordan took over for the Johnnies though, as he would finish the night with 18 points, the leading scorer on either side tonight. Second highest scorer in tonight's game oddly enough was Damon Lynn of NJIT with 15 points, in what was one of the small high mark for the Highlanders in this game.
Overall while this was a favorable match up from the onset for St. John's, they looked good for the start of the season. Only time will really tell as to how this team truly is, but so far a 1-0 start to the season is a not too shabby way for Steve Lavin and his squad to begin the 2014-15 campaign.
Their next game will come on Monday, November 17th against Division II Franklin Pierce University at the Carnesecca Area.