St. John’s held their annual Tip-Off event on Friday, Oct. 22 in their first ticketed event at Carnesecca Arena since March 1, 2020. It was a resounding success with over 4,000 students participating in the festivities, per an athletic press release.
As the sun rose on Friday morning in Queens, hundreds of students were already lined up outside Carnesecca Arena’s ticket office for the chance to see the first Tip-Off event in two years. Students waited as long as six hours to obtain general admission tickets for the event, resulting in lines that extended from Carnesecca Arena to the law school parking lot.
Carnesecca’s doors opened at about 6:20 p.m. to a rush of students vying for the best seats in the house. Most of the lower bowl was reserved, but the upper bleachers were lined with Red Storm t-shirts and light-up wristbands for students. All fans were required to show proof of vaccination in order to enter the venue.
The lights dimmed at about 7:45 p.m. to make way for the University’s dance team, who performed a routine in the dark. They were illuminated by the light-up bracelets distributed throughout the stadium. Following the dance team was the cheer squad, who performed a routine of their own before joining the pep band to perform the University’s fight song.
A cascade of lights and artificial smoke preceded the Men’s and Women’s basketball introductions. Each player came out of the tunnel to their own music and fired up the crowd with dances and a t-shirt toss. The coaches followed, and Men’s basketball head coach Mike Anderson told the fans to be ready to “show up and show out” this season. Women’s head coach Joe Tartamella and 2020-21 leading scorer Leilana Correa also asked the fans for their support in advance of their Nov. 10 season opener.
The Men’s team, split wearing home and away jerseys, then played a 16-minute scrimmage. Posh Alexander stole the show with some impressive layups and dunks throughout the game. Alexander is one of just two players returning from last season that are expected to be available on opening night. The other, Julian Champagnie, had some impressive three-point and two-point scores of his own.
Dylan Addae-Wusu is expected to miss the start of the season, but was seen participating in non-contact basketball activities during warm-ups. Addae-Wusu is the only other rostered player that has been coached by Anderson.
Other new additions to the roster impressed during the scrimmage. Stef Smith made a few three-point shots and looks to be a solid deep shooter this season. In the paint, Joel Soriano impressed with his ability to rebound and score in second-chance opportunities.
The match ended in a 50-50 tie after both teams fought hard in the final minutes of play.
New York native Fivio Foreign concluded the night with a performance that hyped the fans in attendance. Foreign routinely went across the court to challenge the volume of the fan sections. The set highlighted Foreign’s impressive feature catalog, which included songs by Drake and the late Pop Smoke.
The official start of the Men’s and Women’s basketball seasons is on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10, respectively. It will be the program’s first official games with fans in attendance since the Big East Tournament in March 2020.