The St. John’s men’s basketball team concluded their round of exhibition games on Tuesday evening as they defeated Division III side Concordia 87-36 at Carnesecca Arena.
Steve Lavin and Concordia head coach Tyler Jones were honoured during the game, as they are both cancer survivors.
“He’s only a year or two older than me,” said St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin. “He’s fifty and I’m 48 and traditionally with prostate cancer it affects people 60 years or older so people say, ‘Don’t even worry about it.’ That led to [Tyler Jones] checking and he’s got treatment since and he’s now cancer free. So the relationship kind of came out of that and that’s [how this game came together].”
D’Angelo Harrison was benched for the game because he has not been meeting Coach Lavin’s expectations of leadership and maturity.
“Because he’s in a leadership role he’s going to be held to a higher standard,” Lavin said. “In the grand scheme of things, it’s so minor that it’s hard to put into context.”
Concordia held the Johnnies tight early in the first half, but were eventually overrun by the home team. After trailing 5-6 early in the first half, St. John’s broke away, led by JaKarr Sampson, who went 3-5 in the first ten minutes.
The Red Storm continued to use their speed in the first half to open the game up. They had a total of 16 fast break points, went 20-36 from the field and out-rebounded Concordia 29-19.
The defense buckled down in the second period and only allowed Concordia to score 12 points in the final 20 minutes of the game. The latter stat could be credited to the Johnnies ability to find a presence under the rim, as they recorded 15 defensive rebounds in the second period.
Chris Obekpa was one of the key players of Tuesday’s game, as he went 6 of 8 from the field and recorded 14 boards. He also led the team in blocks, with 7.
“Coach told me that if I was free to take a shot, I take a shot,” Obekpa said. “So when I was free, rather than passing it, I would take a shot. I feel more confident about my offensive game.”
St. John’s will begin their much-anticipated regular season opener when they face off against Detroit on Nov. 13th at Carnesecca Arena.