St. John’s Defeats Gritty St. Peter’s Team in 91-70 Victory

Tareq Coburn Tallies 1,000 Career Points in Cold-Blooded Fashion

TORCH PHOTO — BRADY SNYDER

TORCH PHOTO — BRADY SNYDER

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team took an early lead backed by excellent three-point shooting versus St. Peter’s on Saturday, Nov. 13 at Carnesecca Arena and never looked back. The Johnnies are now 2-0 after the 91-70 win, marking their twentieth consecutive win against the Peacocks despite a recent stretch of close games. 

Posh Alexander and Julian Champagnie started off the game with three-point baskets that would set the tone for the rest of the night. For most of the first half, the Johnnies shot more efficiently from behind the arc than from anywhere on the court. They finished the game with 13 three-pointers made alongside a 44.8 three-point field goal percentage, which looks to be a far improvement over last year’s team if the Red Storm can keep it up. 

“It’s early on,” St. John’s head coach Mike Anderson noted in his postgame media conference. “We’ve got some guys that can shoot the basketball, and I think that’s really going to open up the floor for us.” 

The effectiveness of St. John’s long-range shooting opened up the paint for Anderson’s big men, like Joel Soriano, who he named as a player who could capitalize on the extra space on the floor. It showed on the court, as St. John’s most efficient big men – Soriano, Aaron Wheeler and O’Mar Stanley – scored a combined 25 points and 13 rebounds at the center/forward positions. 

While Tareq Coburn hasn’t started either of St. John’s first two games, he’s become a cold-blooded shooter when he enters the game. Coburn scored his 1,000th career point against St. Peter’s and had the game’s second-most points scored with 17 backed by his shooting prowess. 

“[Coburn is] a starter in my mind,” Anderson said. “Whether he starts or comes off [of] the bench, he’s going to get minutes.” In those 23 minutes off of the bench versus St. Peter’s, Coburn made three of five attempts from three-point range and was five of seven overall. 

It wasn’t all perfect for St. John’s though, as the team struggled to continue their defensive pressure in the second half. The Peacocks started making wide-open shots that they were missing early in the game, and nearly paced the Johnnies with 43 points scored in the final half. “We need to learn how to continue to execute,” Anderson said about the team’s defense in the second half. “Do what got you the lead.”

The wins are helping the team develop, especially versus St. Peter’s, who returning guard Champagnie acknowledged had been giving St. John’s “issues” in recent years. 

“We’re becoming a real team,” Champagnie said, noting the team’s improvement defensively since the secret, closed-door scrimmage versus Rhode Island.  “We’re still not where we want to be at, but we’ll get there.” 

With two days to practice before the team faces off against Indiana, which may be nationally ranked as soon as the AP’s next poll, they’ll need to prove they are capable of playing up to a higher level of play. It started against St. Peter’s, which is one of the better teams in MAAC, but will need to continue as Anderson trims his rotation down. 

“I think we’re ready,” Champagnie said. “[Our] defensive intensity has been top of the line.”