Five Johnnies recorded double-figures, including a game-high 18 points from Andre Curbelo, as the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team improved to 8-0 with a 95-68 victory over LIU (1-5) on Tuesday in Queens. Posh Alexander registered 12 points and a game-high eight assists while Joel Soriano recorded his NCAA-leading seventh double-double with 16 points and 10 boards.
St. John’s shot a season-best 60.6 percent from the field in the Red Storm’s second-highest scoring effort of the season. Sorinano was 8-for-10 from the floor and Curbelo went 8-for-11. The Johnnies also recorded a season-high 26 assists on 43 made field goals and outrebounded the Sharks, 45-24.
David Jones chipped in 14 points for the Johnnies, shooting 7-for-9 inside the three-point arc, and registered a game-high four steals. Rafael Pinzon matched his career-high with 14 points and hit a trio of 3-pointers in 18 minutes off the bench. The sophomore guard also pulled down four rebounds in his first game action since Nov. 17. Pinzon had been sidelined for Red Storm’s last three contests due to injury.
O’Mar Stanley earned his second-consecutive start, filling in for Montez Mathis, who missed the game due to an illness. The Red Storm’s 6-foot-8 sophomore forward swatted two shots in 19 minutes of action on Tuesday.
Soriano and Curbelo combined for the team’s first eight points as the Red Storm jumped ahead 8-2 less than three minutes into the wire-to-wire victory. After a pair of buckets from LIU, St. John’s scored 18 of the next 21 points to open a 17-point cushion, 26-9, at the 9:21 mark in the first half. St. John’s maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
The Johnnies closed the first half by forcing a trio of turnovers and scoring 10-straight points to carry a 44-20 advantage into the break. Soriano led the way with 12 points at intermission while Curbelo posted 10 points in the first 20 minutes of action.
As a team, the Johnnies locked down LIU defensively in the first half, as the Sharks shot 30 percent (9-30 FG) from the floor and missed all 10 attempts from distance in the opening stanza.
In the early minutes of the second half, the Red Storm extended its scoring run to 21-2 opening a 30-point advantage. A Soriano dunk followed by back-to-back buckets by Jones capped the spurt giving St. John’s a 55-24 lead with 16:40 to play. The Johnnies led by as many as 32 and did not let its advantage dip below 23 the rest of the way.
Senior Esahia Nyiwe gave the Johnnies good energy off the bench on Tuesday. The 6-foot-10 forward from Omaha scored all six points in the second half on 3-for-4 shooting. Nyiwe also pulled down four rebounds in 10 minutes of action.
St. John’s competes outside the friendly confines of New York City for the first time on Sunday when the Red Storm visits No. 23/23 Iowa State as part of the Big 12–BIG EAST Battle. Tip-off in Ames, Iowa is slated for 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
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