St. John’s topples an undefeated FDU despite disinterested effort


The atmosphere at the half-empty Corneseca Arena was lacking and there was no performance in the courtyard. The best thing to say about Saturday’s effort was that it was a win.

Otherwise, St. John’s took a step back after a disappointing defeat at Indiana on Wednesday night, playing without purpose or intensity for the big expansions of its 87-74 win over Fairleigh Dickinson, who had not won at the Cornessa Arena.

The Knights played hard in the underdog of 33 points, losing to Seton Hall 44 and Northwestern 36 points. St. John’s lacked a killer instinct, so he considered it a win-win game. He hit 10-20 from 3-point range in a series of unanimous looks from the outside of the arc and was close to nine in the final minutes.

Julian Champagni missed 13-19 with his 32-point blast against the Hoosiers. Transactions are a problem again, with the Johnnies committing 14 of them, mostly not forced. Posh Alexander and Champagne scored 17 and Steph Smith 14 each. Devon Dunn led FDU (0-3) with 24 points.

Steph Smith drove to the basket during the St. John’s win.
Corey Sipkin

The beginning was strong. St. John’s (3-1) turned FDU’s first three possessions into trades and led by two figures in less than five minutes. Alexander Fallow then led 18-15 at 33-15.

At one point, St. John’s had eight assists and only one turnover. But then the game leaked. The Johnnies started to turn the ball over. Their defenses were flattened. St. John’s started fouling too often, causing the Knights to come to the free-throw line 18 times, making 12 of them.

At one point, the lead was cut to 11. Interestingly, Alexander played the ball for much of the opening half. Maybe coach Mike Anderson is trying to get his team ready for the next time Alexander gets into foul trouble like he did against Indiana. Champagne had a very rough opening half, missing nine of the 12 shots – the shots he usually makes in his sleep – though he had eight rebounds.

The second half started in a similar way. Sloppy play, missed defensive assignments and lack of any offensive direction in the half-court. St. John’s eventually trailed slightly with a 7-0 spurt that was covered by a Dylan Ade-Vusu 3-pointer, whose fourth attempt pushed the lead to 18 at 11:04 on 17 attempts.

The Johnnies jumped 22 percent, but FDU quickly cut the lead to 15 and finally got to 10 with 6:07 to go, these uneven performance ratios.


St. John’s without two reserves. Freshman guard Rafael Pinzan suffered a minor fracture in his left ring finger during practice Friday and graduate senior guard Tarek Coburn was ill. The school said their illness was not related to COVID-19. Coburn is expected to return against St. Francis Brooklyn on Tuesday but Pinzon’s status is uncertain. They will visit hand specialists this week.

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