A strong defensive effort by the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team and some tremendous overall scoring led to a 89-66 victory over Stony Brook University in College Men’s Basketball action on Sunday at Carnesecca Arena. Leading the way in the scoring for the Red Storm in scoring was Greg Williams, Jr who matched a career-high with 21 points. Julian Champagnie followed with 16, and Isaih Moore finished with 12.
As for Stony Brook they had a strong showing considering that they did not have the full time to prepare for what was a particularly good St. John’s Men’s Basketball team. Mouhamadou Gueye led all scoring with 15 points. The Red Storm was looking to respond in a big way to their first loss of the year to BYU on Wednesday. It took them some time to figure out how Stony Brook was going to play.
Turned out the Seawolves got the early momentum, going to their big men early in the game and then cutting out to shoot some high-percentage three-point shots led to a 33-27 lead in the First Half of play. St. John’s started to chip away at that lead and tied the game up at 33 with a jumper by Williams, Jr at the 3:31 mark. The Red Storm continued to build on their lead ending the First Half with a 49-35 score.
Williams Jr continued to impress for the Red Storm, grabbing some huge rebounds and making some big shots to lead all First Half Scoring with 11.
It seemed in the First Half St. John’s had to clean up their boards and find a defensive timing, which they were able to do. Helping to lead the team on some huge defensive measures was Champagnie who had 10 steals, along with Isaih Moore who had three steals. That tremendous defensive effort continued to lead St. John’s as they headed into the Second Half. Stony Brook hung tight in what was a fast and furious game between these two New York Rivals.
Stony Brook got a huge bucket by Frankie Policelli around the 14:41 mark of the Second to cut the Red Storm lead to 61-40. The Seawolves continued to cut at the lead thanks to a huge trey by Tyler Stephenson-Moore at the 13:07 mark to make the score 62-46.
The Red Storm responded at the 9:44 mark with a bucket by Arnaldo Toro, which gave them a 69-50 lead. Toro was impressive overall for St. John’s hitting some huge shots and grabbing some big rebounds.
Overall the team’s defensive play continued as the home team locked down the Stony Brook offense, as a huge steal by Posh Alexander along with a incredible blocked shot later on the game, along with some great communication and rotation was key to shutting down the Seawolves defense. Alexander had himself a really impressive showing setting up his teammates, really trying to break down the Stony Brook defense along with some really intelligent play.
St. John’s who tried to use everyone on their bench for this game, found scoring from guys like John McGriff, Josh Roberts and others to close out what was a thrilling 89-66 victory.
The Red Storm will host one last non-conference game against Metropolitan Area Rival Rider University on Tuesday, December the 8th before heading into the ultra-tough BIG EAST Conference play.
The game between the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team and Rider is set for 7:00 p.m. with the game airing on the CBS Network.
St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson
“I was anxious to see how we would respond coming off of the BYU loss when we came home. The thing is without fans, you have to create your own energy and I thought that Stony Brook came out and they threw the first punch. I thought that they couldn’t miss, but that is typical when you’re talking about a school that is right down the highway. Our guys hung in there and had a nice run before halftime. The bench guys came in and they played really well, and we went on the 22-2 run and then in the second half we imposed our will defensively. Guys got engaged defensively and we tried to create some havoc. We were able to pull it off and kudos to the job that our bench did.”
On the play of Greg Williams Jr…
“He was assertive, and that is what guys that have the experience can do. He has kind of been taking a backseat, and hasn’t been as assertive, but it was his day to step up and it was good to see. It wasn’t just his scoring he was deflecting passes and that is why he ended up having six steals. He was active everywhere, touching balls and rebounding, making great passes. He was good today.”
On how important Williams Jr. is to the team…
“I think he is probably the leading scorer returning along with Rasheem [Dunn]. So, he is a core guy, and it is important that he gives us some offensive firepower. We have some other guys too and you have seen that on display. Julian [Champagnie] is a double figure scorer and now you have got a guy like Dylan [Addae-Wusu] coming off the bench and giving you 6-8 points per game, Marcellus [Earlington] can get you some points, and we have other guys that are capable. We have Isaih [Moore] who I thought played much, much better than the last game and that is what we have to see. He was great on the front-end of the press, and his athletic ability is something that helps our team’s versatility. He was guarding their guards for a while, but without a doubt, we have a team that has multiple options, and that is a good thing.”
On how the play late in the first half of the game can carry over to BIG EAST play…
“I think when you see how our runs have come, it has been because of our defense. If you watch especially in the second half, even though Stony Brook was able to break our pressure, they had to force up shots in their half-court offense then when they would miss shots it would turn into fast breaks for us. We are not near where we want to be. We have seen some games and runs because that is how we play and practice every day. We have just got to get better at being consistent and in a game it is going to go back and forth. We had some guys get a lot of playing time and I thought that was important.”
On the play of Isaih Moore…
“I think when he plays the right way it elevates our game. I thought he was focused on what he was going to bring to the table. He had six defensive rebounds, and in the second half he was on the front of the pressure defense and he was great up there causing all kinds of havoc. Then you saw he was denying passes, getting out in the fast break. He is going to score in a variety of ways, and he is learning. This is his first time actually playing and he is starting to play in the BIG EAST and with that comes responsibility, but he is learning.”
On the signing of Esahia Nyiwe…
“We are just going to bring him in, get him up to speed on what we are doing. It depends on him, depends on how fast he can pick up what we are doing. With what he brings to the table, without a doubt [he can help us]. It all depends on how fast he can pick up what we are doing, and you never say never. That is why we signed him. He was available, and we will see when he gets here.”
Junior Guard Greg Williams Jr.
On how he feels during a good scoring run…
“I mean, it gets exciting. We all play off each other so we get those type of plays and it just evolves into more and more plays. It’s really exciting to be on the floor with everyone being able to create chaos.”
On what sparked the 22-2 run late in the first half…
“I don’t think it was something that was said. I think we all just had that feeling as far as we need to get going, we need to play how were capable of playing. So, I think it was more so us taking that initiative to start playing hard, playing together.”
On his leadership role…
“I feel like my confidence has been good. I think that I just do what’s right for the team and my teammates find me and I create plays for myself.”
On the effect backcourt pressure has on the opponent…
“I think the pace changed the course of the game. I think that we were able to speed them up and come up with turnovers and finish on the other end.”
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