All five Red Storm starters recorded double figures, including team-high 17-point performances from both Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander. Champagnie also grabbed 10 boards for his first double-double this season and 12th of his career.
“There are things we can work on both defensively and offensively,” Champagnie said. “We did have some positives along with the negatives. We are going to come back as a group to work on what we need to work on.”
Stef Smith added 14 points and went 8-for-10 from the line, Montez Mathis chipped in 13 points going 6-for-10 from the field, and Joel Soriano finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting for the Red Storm.
The win marked the 13th straight non-conference victory at Carnesecca Arena for a St. John’s squad that was playing without injured freshman guard Rafael Pinzon and graduate student Tareq Coburn, who missed the contest with a non-COVID illness.
“We were missing two of our guys that were key from our bench,” said coach Mike Anderson. “I always think our strength is going to be our bench. We didn’t have those guys, and we didn’t have a great shooting night.
St. John’s led by as many as 22 points and kept a double-digit advantage for the majority of its wire-to-wire victory. The Johnnies outscored Fairleigh Dickinson (0-3), 46-24, in the paint and converted 22-of-29 attempts at the free-throw line.
Aaron Wheeler and Dylan Addae-Wusu gave the Red Storm a spark off the bench finishing with eight and six points, respectively. The duo combined to shoot 3-for-5 from distance while Addae-Wusu also handed out a game-high five assists.
St. John’s helped turn the Knights’ over 23 times in the contest and converted the miscues into 27 points. It marked the most turnovers by a Red Storm opponent since DePaul coughed up 24 on February 20 at Carnesecca Arena.
Still, Anderson said there was room for improvement on that side of the ball.
“I always think we can score,” he said. “To me, it was the defense [that was the problem]. Coming into this game, what were our defensive goals? One of them was to, hopefully, keep them in the 50s or 60s and we didn’t get that accomplished,
St. John’s was scheduled to return to action on Tuesday, playing host to St. Francis Brooklyn at 7 p.m.