New Year’s Eve is a day reserved for parties and celebration. For the San Francisco Dons there would be no celebrating as they lost to St. John’s 92-77 Sunday afternoon before a less than packed crowd at Alumni Hall.
“When you lose like this, you don’t celebrate New Year’s,” said San Francisco Head Coach Phillip Matthews.
The game was delayed a day due to the winter storm that pounded the east coast. The Dons would take a pounding of its own n this game. The Red Storm jumped out to an 11 point half-time lead (42-31).
“I’m concerned about our competitiveness right now,” said San Francisco Head Coach Philip Matthews. “We didn’t compete today, St. John’s just out competed us, dominated us, and went right through us.”
St. John’s began the second half on a 20-8 run in the first five and a half minutes to take a 23 point lead at 62-39 with 14:26 remaining. The Red Storm cruised in the rest of the half as the closest the Dons got was within 13.
For the Dons this game was their third consecutive defeat and dropped them to 6-7.
With its second straight win, SJU goes over the 500 mark at 6-5 and ups its Alumni Hall winning streak to 26.
Five players scored in double figures for SJU. Leading the charge was Anthony Glover with 20 points while Willie Shaw finished with 12 and Omar Cook pitched in with 16.
The two other double-figure scorers were two players who had been struggling. Alpha Bangura shot 9-of-10 from the field and had 19 points. At half-time Bangura led all scorers with 17 points. “Offensively when you have ability, you have to relax and let it come to you,” Head Coach Mike Jarvis said.
After being benched for the game against Manhattan and only playing 12 minutes,Reggie Jessie again came off the bench to have a solid all-around game. In 25 minutes he shot 7-of-9 from the field for 16 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists.
There was speculation that the benching might have caused problems between him and Jarvis. After the game Jarvis ruled it out.
“The way that Reggie responded to his benching, ended up being a very positive thing for this team,” he said.
The breakout performances of Jessie and Bangura were San Francisco’s biggest fears going into this game. “I was very afraid of Bangura and Jessie,” Matthews said. “Those were the two guys I was concerned about and my worst fears came true.”
After this game the true test will begin for SJU, a two-month test of Big East Conference Play. “I think we understand what it takes to win a game,” Anthony Glover said. “We can do anything we want to do if we put our mind to it.”
“We’re a team in the making still,” said Jarvis. “We’re to a point where I would have liked to been in mid-November. We’ve got a way to go, but I think we’ve got a lot to work with.”
The Red Storm will have to see how far it has come in conference play. On Wednesday it hosts Big East newcomer Virginia Tech at Alumni Hall.