The St. Johns Red Storm dropped their 2nd straight conference game this week to crosstown rival Seton Hall 82-79, but if you are the type of person with a “glass half full” perspective you will notice that this is a game the Johnnies can build off on.
Clearly Seton Hall showed why they are the better team this afternoon, but there’s no denying some of the progression from the Red Storm “Anyone watching knows we saw a great ball game. Two teams showed up, obviously neighboring teams. Congratulations to their guys who made plays at the right time. They had the ability to knock free throws down. They made some big free throws down the stretch so you have to give them credit. But as I told our guys I was proud of the effort and I’m not into moral victories we lost the game at home, that’s got to hurt but at the same time I thought our guys came out and played against a very, very good opponent, Seton hall and gave ourselves a chance.” A confident Mike Anderson says to the press following the loss.
From LJ Figueroa’s career high seven steals , to a career high 16 points from Josh Roberts and a much improved shooting performance from Mustapha Heron along with a strong defensive performance. These are some things that were at one time major concerns that were addressed in this game. As Head coach Mike Anderson points out, “I thought of all of the games , we’ve had some tough games… I’m proud that they continued to fight, and actually I thought we got better. We haven’t been scoring. Our defense has been pretty good and we hadn’t been scoring, but I thought we kind of amped it up. I thought guys played for one another, they trusted one another. I saw Mustapha Heron come out and they looked More relaxed. Josh Roberts had one of his better games. What that says is we played as a team. And with that being said, that gave us a chance.
Despite this team’s record through the past six games, you can tell from today’s game that the Red Storm are correcting their flaws game by game. “We’re cleaning up some things going down the stretch and that’s where the inexperienced versus experienced I keep saying that, but you can see the guys that make plays for them. I like the way this team responds to tough losses.” Says coach Anderson.
St. John’s came out with a sense of urgency against the preseason favorite to win the Big East conference holding their best player Myles Powell to 6 points in the first half and holding on to a 13 point lead at the half due to their defense and ability to make shots. something they weren’t able to do in the past couple of games. In the Second half the Priates made their comeback known by outscoring the Red Storm 23-11 and cutting their once 13 point lead down to one. At that point you got to say to yourself that this is where St. Johns may revert to old habits but they didn’t. The Red Storm were able to keep their lead alive at times as well as gain back the lead late in the game something they couldn’t do in their previous losses.
Free throws (60 % for the game) might have doomed them down the stretch but it’s worth knowing if the Red Storm had shot the ball better from the line then we may have been talking about how the Johnnies took down the best team in the league and No. 18th team in the country, and how this Red Storm squad makes MSG a tougher place for opponents to get a win rather than the Knicks.
For now we the Red Storm are 1-5 with a lot of basketball left in conference play. But if the positives from today’s game become the norm and they improve from the little things such as free throws by March, things could be much different for this team.