St. John’s Takes Down Lafayette 83-68, Overcoming First Half Struggles

The Johnnies secured a second-straight victory despite early struggles against a weaker opponent.

Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team improved to 2-0 on their season against Lafayette on Saturday night with an 83-68 victory despite a poor perimeter defensive effort. Despite only leading by two points at the half against a big underdog, the Johnnies took control in the second half to secure the decisive win. 

David Jones and Joel Soriano once again had stellar efforts on both ends of the court. Soriano dominated in the second half after scoring just a single point in the first half, thanks to some key adjustments during the break. 

Jones is leading the Red Storm in scoring thus far this season. After Saturday’s 20-point effort, he’s now averaging 20.5 points along with 7.5 rebounds across the two regular-season games. He was also honored by the Big East conference by being named to the honor roll for his stellar performance.

Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

“It puts pressure on them because they start fouling,” head coach Mike Anderson said, referencing Soriano’s impact under the glass. “That’s an advantage we have and we have to take advantage of it with a guy like Joel.”

Soriano scored three of the team’s first six points in the second half and never looked back — scoring a total of 12 points in the period. 

The team led by as many as 16 in the second half, fostered by great three-point shooting. Dylan Addae-Wusu had four of those three-pointers. “I’ve been trying to shoot the ball with more confidence,” Addae-Wusu said in a postgame media conference, citing his work in practice as the reason for his improvement beyond the arc.

Addae-Wusu wasn’t the only one to find his stroke on Saturday night. The team shot at a 51.2 percent clip from the floor, and 50 percent from three-point range, up significantly from last season. David Jones had some key shots, and freshman AJ Storr added eight points off the bench.

Lafayette got many open three-point looks which kept them in the game for the first half. “We were lackadaisical,” Addae-Wusu said of the team’s perimeter defense. The adjustments made at halftime clearly showed as the three point defense was visibly better throughout the second half.

Though the poor perimeter defensive effort certainly overshadowed what would have been a thrilling and dominant victory, there were plenty of things to like for the Red Storm. The turnovers were down significantly from Monday’s season opener, the shooting from behind the arc was once again stellar, and the presence in the paint was discovered in the second half.

“We took care of the basketball,” Anderson said, following a performance that saw his team surrender just ten turnovers “That’s what we do. That was an anomaly to me the other night”. 

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team returns to action on Tuesday, Nov. 15 against Central Connecticut State at 7 p.m. in Carnesecca Arena.