The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team cruised to a 97-72 victory over Merrimack on Monday in the squad’s 2022-23 season opener at Carnesecca Arena.
All five Red Storm starters finished with double figures, including a game-high 21 points from junior forward David Jones. The DePaul transfer shot 8-for-16 from the field and hit five 3-pointers to go with 10 rebounds and four assists in his St. John’s debut.
Red Storm senior center Joel Soriano registered his 15th career double-double, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 11 rebounds in under 20 minutes of action. Montez Mathis added 16 points going 5-for-6 from the field on a night where he notched his 1,000th career point. Illinois transfer Andre Curbelo also shined in his first game for the Johnnies, as the junior guard registered 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and dished out a game-high seven assists. Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team selection Posh Alexander was the fifth Red Storm starter to record double figures, posting 14 points to go with five assists while matching a career-high with six steals.
The Red Storm shot 56.9 percent (37-65 FG) from the field and converted 13-of-15 (86.7 percent) free-throw attempts. In total, 12 St. John’s players got in the scoring column on Monday, as sophomore wing Rafael Pinzon led the Red Storm bench with nine points on 4-of-9 shooting.
St. John’s also dominated the glass, winning the battle by a 47-26 margin, including a 32-15 edge in defensive boards.
The teams exchanged baskets in the early minutes of the opening stanza before St. John’s used a 23-5 run to jump out to a 32-14 led at the 9:22 mark. The Red Storm maintained a double digit lead the rest of the way and carried a 51-30 advantage into the locker room. Alexander, Curbelo and Soriano each had eight points at the break, combining for 11-of-13 shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes of action.
In the second half, Jones buried three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of action to open up a 65-38 advantage. The talented forward shot 4-for-9 from the field, recording 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the latter half.
Merrimack trimmed its deficit to 15 with 8:34 remaining, but the Johnnies answered with a 16-2 run over the next three and a half minutes to put the contest out of reach. Alexander capped the surge with a steal and breakaway layup to give St. John’s its largest lead of the contest, 87-58, at the 5:02 mark.
St. John’s held Merrimack to just 20.7 percent (6-29 3FG) shooting from distance in the contest. Jordan Minor led the Warriors with 19 points and seven rebounds.
The Red Storm will return to action on Saturday when it plays host to Lafayette at 6 p.m. inside Carnesecca Arena on FS2.
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