The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team never trailed in the 119th edition of one of the BIG EAST’s greatest rivalries, topping Georgetown, 88-69, at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
Five members of the Red Storm (10-5, 2-2 BIG EAST) finished in double figures for the fourth time this season, led by Julian Champagnie’s 25 points. The BIG EAST’s top scorer also added six rebounds and three steals.
Posh Alexander turned in what was arguably his most complete effort of the campaign. The sophomore guard made all four of his field goal attempts and went 9-of-10 from the free throw line for 17 points. In addition to his scoring, the Brooklyn native affected nearly every part of the game, tallying seven assists, just one turnover, six rebounds and a career-high six steals.
Dylan Addae-Wusu also seemed to be everywhere for the Johnnies, finishing with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, seven assists, four boards and only two turnovers. The sophomore from the Bronx, who scored 17 or more for the third time in his last four games, sank four of his five tries from beyond the arc.
Montez Mathis netted 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting while Aaron Wheeler reached double figures for the third straight game, posting 10 points and a pair of steals.
Stef Smith added a pair of triples in 12 minutes of action for St. John’s, which shot 51.7 percent from the floor and 21-of-29 (72.4%) from the charity stripe on the afternoon.
The Johnnies assisted on 22 of their 30 made baskets, surrendered just 10 turnovers and tallied 13 steals, the team’s second highest total of the season. Overall, the Red Storm forced Georgetown into 21 turnovers, which the Johnnies converted into 29 points.
BIG EAST Preseason Freshman of the Year Aminu Mohammed registered a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double for Georgetown (6-8, 0-3 BIG EAST). Kaiden Rice scored a team-high 19 points for the Hoyas.
With the game tied at 15 following a Ryan Mutombo three-point play with 13:13 to play in the opening stanza, the Red Storm rattled off an 11-0 run to move ahead by double digits for the first time near the midway mark of the half. Champagnie tallied five of the Johnnies’ 11 points on the tear, sinking a reverse layup before converting on an old-fashioned three-point play.
The Red Storm used a late 9-2 run to pull ahead by as many as 15, 41-26, in the first half before taking an 11-point lead into the locker room.
The Hoyas pulled within nine in the early going of the second half before a 9-2 burst gave the Red Storm its biggest lead of the game to that point, 54-38, following a Champagnie three-point play with 17:22 to go.
A 9-0 run pushed the Johnnies’ edge to 20, 63-43, on Wusu’s third 3-pointer of the day with 13:02 to play, but the Hoyas responded with an 18-5 run to pull within seven, 68-61, with 8:55 remaining.
With the lead at eight, 72-64, with eight minutes to go, back-to-back buckets from Alexander sparked a 7-0 St. John’s spurt, pushing the Red Storm advantage back to 15 at the five-minute mark of the half. After a Georgetown layup, the Red Storm added six straight points, extending the overall run to 13-2 and putting the game out of reach.
The Red Storm will begin a crucial stretch of BIG EAST play on Wednesday, traveling to Omaha for a 7 p.m. ET contest against Creighton. After that road tilt with the Bluejays, the Red Storm will welcome Seton Hall to Madison Square Garden on Saturday for the first of two meeting in three days between the Johnnies and Pirates. To purchase tickets to that game against the Pirates, visit RedStormTix.com or call 1-888-GO-STORM.
St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson
“[It was] our first official home game in Madison Square Garden and I didn’t think it could go any better. Our guys came out and defensively established what we wanted to do. We wanted the game to be up-tempo and try to make Georgetown use some conditioning. I thought we did [that]. We made some shots. 22 assists on 30 made field goals, that’s sharing the basketball. It seemed like we were in attack mode, defensively and offensively. [I’m] proud of these guys here [Posh Alexander and Dylan Addae-Wusu]. It was a good team win.”
On what the difference was in today’s win…
“Our team defense was the biggest difference in this game. We deflected a lot of passes and those 50/50 balls that are big in games, we came up with them. It led to some transition action for us, as well. We made our free throws tonight. That’s something we hadn’t been doing. We did a lot of good things and we have to package it up and continue to do it.”
On Aaron Wheeler scoring in double figures in three straight games…
“I haven’t even been thinking about his scoring. I’ve been thinking about his energy, his effort on defense, rebounding the basketball [and] being a hard matchup. I think his confidence is soaring right now.”
On Posh Alexander’s well-rounded performance…
“The numbers are kind of staggering. He’s like the Energizer Bunny. Everybody feeds off of him. He was everywhere … I’m amazed looking at what kind of deflections he had. There were a lot times he touched a basketball. I thought he started with the defensive side of it. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s doing a lot of things for our basketball team. It was a perfect game. He’s very talented, and we’re blessed to have him on our team.”
Sophomore guard Posh Alexander…
On tying a career-high with six steals and adding 17 points in the winning effort…
“I feel like it was one of my best games, but like I do every game I come out and play hard. I do whatever for my team to win, whether it’s rebounding or passing the ball I do whatever it takes for us to win.”
On the team’s performance against Georgetown…
“I feel like we got better today. We were more focused on our defense than when we played Connecticut. We just played our game, brought [what we do in] practice to the game and focused on defense.”
On if he feels that the team is trending upwards …
“I see us becoming a better all-around team. We’re just going to take it day-by-day and work hard in practice. [We just need] to bring it from practice into the game.”
Sophomore guard Posh Dylan Addae-Wusu…
On how he operates in the backcourt with Posh Alexander…
“It’s the flow of the game. My teammates trust me to make plays and they also trust me to knock down shots. Sometimes when he [Posh Alexander] needs a break off the ball, he holds me accountable to make plays, get the guys going and make the right decision.”
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