It was a wire-to-wire win for the St. John’s Red Storm that was never really in question. The Johnnies dominated the LIU Sharks across the board in a 95-68 win on Tuesday at Carnesecca Arena.
The victory continued St. John’s undefeated start to the season with an 8-0 record and the 27-point win marked the largest margin of victory for the Red Storm this year. Tuesday’s game wrapped up an eight-game homestand for St. John’s to open the season.
“I thought we created our own energy from the defensive mindset,” St. John’s head coach Mike Anderson said. “As you can see we shared the basketball. It was a good team win, guys came off the bench and gave us some good minutes. … We did what we were supposed to do. We took advantage of our size. The old motto is energy on defense is kind of contagious.”
Andre Curbelo led the Johnnies with 18 points in the win, while shooting 8-for-11 from the field and adding seven assists, eight rebounds and a steal.
Joel Soriano and David Jones each had big nights as well, with Soriano scoring 16 points along with a team-high 10 rebounds. Jones had 14 on 7-of-13 shooting. Posh Alexander had 12 points and shot 2-of-4 from three in his first contest back on the floor after missing St. John’s win over Niagra due to concussion protocol.
Rafael Pinzon had an equally impressive night with a 14-point effort while shooting 5-for-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from three.
“I feel like we good. We gonna take it day by day,” Alexander said about the Red Storm after they wrapped up their first eight games of the year. “We just played one tonight, we got a win. Played against a great team and going against another good team, Iowa St. We just gonna take it day by day, go at in practice and just get prepared. That’s really it.”
The Johnnies will head out onto the road for the first time on Sunday to take on Iowa St.
The Johnnies shot 60.6% from the field and 29.4% from beyond the arc. They outscored the Sharks 28-7 in points off turnovers, 62-32 in points in the paint and St. John’s bench outscored LIU’s bench 33-8.
St. John’s opened up the game on an 8-2 run in the first three minutes of the game, with Soriano and Curbelo each contributing four points. The Sharks closed the gap and Jacob Johnson knocked down a jumper with 15:16 left in the half to pull LIU within two, but seven quick points gave St. John’s a nine-point lead.
The Red Storm pushed their lead to double-digits when Pinzon knocked down a jumper with 11:42 left in the half. A three from Pinzon gave the Red Storm a 24-9 lead moments later and Alexander made it a 17-point game off a fastbreak layup with 9:21 left in the first half.
Soriano made it an 18-point game when he hit a jumper with under two minutes left in the half and a Curbelo layup just before the buzzer gave St. John’s their biggest lead of the half at 44-20.
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The offensive onslaught continued after halftime and the Johnnies surpassed the 3o-point lead plateau less than five minutes into the second half. A fastbreak layup from David Jones gave the Red Storm a 57-26 lead and Curbelo gave them a 31-point lead again moments later after LIU answered with a basket.
The Red Storm took their largest lead of the game in the second half when Pinzon hit a layup with 4:41 left in the game.