Pirates and Red Storm both show dominance in there first two wins of the season as big tests lie ahead in the Gavitt Games.
You get to find out a lot about what a team has through the first two games of the season. For St. John’s and Seton Hall , it’s worth noting that both may have the deepest teams ever and they are using their depth very well early on, noted its still early in the season but there’s so many reasons for optimism.
On Wednesday November 10th, I covered Seton Hall’s opening night game against FDU where the Pirates dominated the Knights 93-49. The pirates had a slow start that allowed FDU to hang around for a bit but they soon got comfortable and dominated since. Up 18-13 around 8:18 remaining in the 1st half the Pirates outscored FDU 22-7 to take a 40-20 lead at the half.
Pirates carried the momentum into the second half and continue to dominate outscoring FDU 53-29 in the second half. The pirates followed Wednesday’s win with an 80-44 win over Ivy League favorite Yale with Alex Yetna leading the way with 15 points.
Kadary Richmond had a bounce back game against Yale with 13 points on 5/8 shooting. As he continues to get adjusted to the system at Seton Hall and have the ball in his hands more often, he’s going to continue to make more of an impact. Teammates and head coach Kevin Willard continue about the 6-5 Brooklyn native.
Yale is the favorite in the Ivy League and is likely to reach the NCAA tournament for the Pirates to dominate them by nearly 40 points speaks volumes.
On Saturday, we headed over to Queens to cover St. John’s vs Saint Peters. The Red Storm took care of business and shot lights out from three-point range (50%) in the 91-70 win. Julian Champangie (22 points 6/13FG) and Posh Alexander (12 points 9 assists) put in the work and They also got major contributions off the bench from Aaron Wheeler (11 points , 7 boards) and Tareq Coburn (17 points 5/7 FG 3/5 from 3)
On the defensive end the seven blocks and 10 steals came up huge as they were able to force many turnovers and make things difficult for the peacocks in the paint. The roster upgrades showed a lot last Saturday, Credit to the Peacocks played the Red Storm much tougher than Mississippi Valley State, but the Johnnies didn’t take them lightly compared to last season where they narrowly beat the Peacocks by one.
Some Observations from the opening week wins
One thing about these two teams is the amount of unselfishness early on. On Wednesday The Pirates had six players in double figures and the star for the Pirates Jared Rhoden didn’t suit up since he was working his way back from an ankle injury he did comeback in the game against Yale and contributed with 8 points.
St. John’s getting good contributions from wheeler and Coburn who could easily be starters on any given night. Yesterday the Redstorm found themselves up 20 with 7-8 minutes left in the first half while their star player Julian Champangie only had five points. The Bishop Loughlin alum finished with a quiet 22 points. This is something that’s new about this team because in the past St. John’s would have full control of the game once Champangie starts killing. Something like this could help in the long run as the season progresses and if there situations where he’s going through a slow start which in our opinion is unlikely.
Tyrese got Next.
Tyrese Samuel’s 19 point 12 board and 3 block performance against FDU is one huge but a bit unexpected but If you know how seton hall is when it comes to developing their players you know there’s a player on the rise who’s going to have a big third year and Tyrese is that guy. Seeing Tyrese’s growth is no surprise to the seniors especially Myles Cale who gave him some praise on Wednesday night. “ He just knows the game better he’s smarter now, he can pick his spots better he’s a better player now” says Cale.
Samuel gave credit to his preparation during the offseason and is working towards the goal of making March madness. “This summer I was really locked in to have a big season and help get our team into March Madness because the first two years I was here there was COVID then we fell short last year I believe that if I step up my game and everyone else plays well sky is the limit for us.
A Healthy Bryce Aiken is a huge plus.
Injuries always affected Bryce Aiken through out his career even at times last season but he looked great in the win against FDU and he’s more healthy than he was last season. Aiken scored 15 points on 5/8 shooting (3/3 3pt FG) in 19 minutes against FDU. A healthy Aiken with some depth at the PG position bodes so well for the Pirates because this means not a lot of pressure will be in Aiken to have a big game every night.
Posh shooting lights out
Posh Alexander could still defend with the best of them, but the improved three point shooting makes him even more dangerous. Through these two games Posh is averaging 15 points and eight assists per game. Big task for Posh as he and Montez Mathis goes up against the backcourt of Parker Stewart and Xavier Johnson on Wednesday.
As both teams show Dominance in their opening week victories, huge non-conference tests are on the way as the Red Storm will travel to Indiana to play the Hoosiers on Wednesday while the Pirates go up against the No.6 team in the country in Michigan on Tuesday . We’ll learn more about these teams but one thing is for sure the upgrades are there and big seasons are on the horizon for both programs.
Future Johnnies made it official.
Last week on National signing day St. John’s commits AJ Storr and Kolby King both signed their NLI’s making their commitments to St. John’s official. Kolby king a 6-2 PG from Pines Charter HS in Florida will give St. John’s a another ball handler next season which is needed. Storr a 6-6 shooting guard will be another key offensive piece to next years squad.
Sanders Officially a Pirate, off to a Strong Start in Grind Session.
Far Rockaway Queens native Jaquan Sanders signed his NLI to Seton Hall on Thursday at Our Savior Lutheran in the Bronx. We were live at the signing ceremony where he along with teammate Sadiku Ibine Ayo ( Iona) and prep team big man Adam Walden (Manhattan) made it official.
Jaquan Sanders and the OSL national team is off to a 1-1 start at the Grind Session out in Phoenix, Arizona. In a 90-73 win over PHHoenix Prep Sanders went off for 21 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. Through 2 games Sanders is averaging 25 points, 3.5 assists three rebounds and 2 steals per game.