St. John’s Bounces Back In First Conference Game, Downs DePaul 86-67

The Johnnies followed up a tough loss with a decisive win to open their conference slate.

Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team began their Big East Conference slate Wednesday, Dec. 7 with an 86-67 win against DePaul, improving to 9-1 and winning their first league game.  

The Red Storm looked locked in from the start, as they went on a 12-0 run before DePaul finally broke their scoring drought with a 3 pointer at the 14:45 mark of the first half. This is a stark difference from the previous games of the season, where the team has started the game on the wrong foot in almost every game.

In Sunday’s loss at No. 23 Iowa State, the Red Storm didn’t get their first field goal until the 9:45 mark of the first half. They started the game on the wrong foot and never caught back up, but their performance three days later against DePaul was completely different. 

“After our performance at Iowa State, we wanted to pick it up a little bit, build off that and just be better as a defensive squad and on our offense,” senior center Joel Soriano said in a postgame media conference. “When we move like that, it is beautiful basketball.”

Once again, the Red Storm took advantage of their interior presence, scoring 50 of their 86 points in the paint. The team shot 50.8 percent overall, which was a much-needed turnaround after shooting only 35.8 percent from the field at Iowa State. They needed a bounce-back performance, and they certainly got one.

Nyiwe goes for the dunk against DePaul.
Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

Soriano had another great all-around performance, recording his eighth double-double, which leads the NCAA. He racked up 17 points and 14 rebounds, leading the team in both categories. The senior center has been influential on both ends of the court this year, which has been a key part of the team’s 9-1 season. 

Alexander added 13 points, six rebounds and six assists. The point guard, who received preseason All-Big East First Team honors, has often deferred to his teammates throughout the non-conference schedule. Alexander reminded fans that he’s also capable of being a scoring threat.

“I thought he had an impact on the game without even making a jump shot,” said head coach Mike Anderson in a postgame media conference, referencing Alexander’s production. “Everybody gets caught up in the jump shot, and he’s going to make shots.”

David Jones, who transferred to St. John’s from DePaul in the offseason, had another stellar outing. He added 11 points and eight rebounds in his first game against his former team.

“My coaches and teammates just told me to just play my game,” Jones said in a postgame press conference. “Even though they were my old teammates and coaches, I was just trying to win today.“

The Red Storm were able to pull away by out-rebounding the Blue Demons and out-scoring them in the paint.

We take it one game at a time,” Soriano said. “We just want to take it game by game and keep getting better with each win.”

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 10 in another non-conference game against New Hampshire at 6 p.m. in Carnesecca Arena.