The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Soriano Leads St. John’s Past Fordham, 77-55

The Red Storm’s defensive turnaround fueled the win.
Soriano tallied 20 points and 10 rebounds vs. Fordham.
Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

Desperate for redemption following a “disappointing” loss to Boston College on Dec. 10, the St. John’s Red Storm dismantled the Fordham Rams at Madison Square Garden 77-55. The Holiday Festival matchup not only marked the Red Storm’s first win at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” this season but also served as a rebound from their falter to Michigan on Nov. 13. In a revenge game for senior center Joel Soriano, St. John’s answered many questions surrounding the team’s defensive identity. 

In a stellar performance, Soriano orchestrated the Red Storm’s dominance with his sixth double-double of the season. His 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks were the latest display of his ever-growing potential, providing a timely boost for head coach Rick Pitino and company. 

Soriano delivered time and time again, backing down Fordham’s senior center Abdou Tsimbila and scoring with his take on the famous “skyhook.” When Tsimbila would least expect it, Soriano showed off his handle and pulled up from mid-range, burying the shot confidently. 

Outside of their team captain, St. John’s leaned on their maturing supporting cast. In a change to the starting lineup, graduate guard Sean Conway replaced graduate guard Jordan Dingle, largely due to defensive matchups. Conway produced six points on 3-8 from the field while snagging two steals. The VMI transfer’s effort was evident — potentially leading to more opportunities moving forward. Meanwhile, Dingle embraced his new role as the sixth man, tallying an efficient eight points, four rebounds and three assists. His crucial three-pointer in transition late in the second half capped off a 9-2 run, forcing the game out of reach. 

Redshirt sophomore Drissa Traore put up six points against the Rams.
Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

The game’s intensity peaked with a playful altercation between graduate forward Chris Ledlum (10 points) and Fordham senior guard Antrell Charlton, resulting in technical fouls for both players. Despite the spirited exchange, the Red Storm had already broken Fordham’s spirit, squashing hopes of a comeback and improving to 7-3. 

The significance of the afternoon showdown transcended individual performances and altercations. The highlight was the obvious improvement in St. John’s defensive capabilities, which had been scrutinized leading up to the contest. In the post-game press conference, Soriano highlighted the team’s focus on refining the fundamentals. 

“We wanted to work on the little things today, especially with [Xavier] coming up,” he said. “We took a big step as a team today.”

To an extent, Pitino echoed this sentiment, acknowledging the team’s progress.

“We took baby steps tonight, and that’s what I wanted to see.”

With newfound confidence, St. John’s looks to their next challenge at Carnesecca Arena on Dec. 20. They take on Xavier (6-5), hungry for success in conference play and early bragging rights in the Big East. 

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About the Contributor
Kyler Fox, Asst. Sports Editor
Kyler is a junior journalism student serving as an Assistant Sports Editor. Outside of The Torch, Kyler is a contributor for both A Daly Dose of Hoops and Last Word on Sports. When he isn’t writing, you can either find him keeping up with his favorite sports teams or checking out the latest sneaker drops.

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