The St. John’s men’s basketball team began its European pre-season tour on Aug. 19 when the team landed in Paris.
The Red Storm played its first European exhibition game two days later after a couple of days touring the City of Light’s most prominent landmarks.
They took to the hardwood at the Pierre de Coubertin Arena to face off against Rouen Basket, donning limited edition Under Armour jerseys with a red, white and blue color way.
The Johnnies found themselves down in both the first and second half, but managed to pull out a 83-78 victory behind Jamal Branch’s game-high 22 points. He also recorded three rebounds, three assists and two steals. The Missouri native was named the game’s MVP.
The Red Storm came up short a day later after losing to tough French side Evreux 85-61. No St. John’s player reached double figures. D’Angelo Harrison, Jakarr Sampson, Sir’Dominic Pointer and Orlando Sanchez all scored eight points, respectively.
“Evreux played a physical brand of basketball and methodically attacked our interior defense in the basket area,” head coach Steve Lavin said in a press release.
“The positive is, we now have a better idea of what we need to do make progress as a team.”
The Johnnies left Paris for Italy on Aug. 23. After spending some time in Sorrento, they traveled to Rome on Aug. 26.
The team played its only game in Italy last night, recording a resounding 74-35 victory over Italian Nazionale B side Stella Azzurra.
Max Hooper had a standout performance, scoring 31 points on 10-13 shooting from behind the arc.
Lavin and co. are scheduled to tour the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica today before they travel to the spot of the final leg of their journey – Barcelona.
The Johnnies will play two games in the Catalan capital, one on Aug. 29 against Spain: LEB Gold – Second Division side CB Prat Joventut Badalona and the other on Aug. 30 against Spanish: Liga ACB side Basquet Manresa.
Both games are part of the 29th Saint Julia de Vilatorta Basketball Tournament.