Jamaica, NY – The St. John’s Red Storm (4-2) raced out to a quick lead vs. the Holy Cross Crusaders (2-5) in an easy 91-45 victory. St John’s dominance in this game stemmed from a balanced attack from their starters and the second unit.
They were led in scoring by senior Joel Soriano who finished with 16 points on 8-of-9 from the field. Soriano is very effective at getting his shot off at the rim and has good control and hands to finish through contact. Soriano makes his move quickly off the catch before the double team can establish solid positioning which makes for high percentage shots or trips to the line. With that said he hasn’t developed a perimeter shooting game which keeps him from being a serious draft prospect in his final year, but with his production he’s still a reliable go-to scoring option for Rick Pitino’s offense.
Among the seniors leading the way for St John’s early this season is guard Daniss Jenkins. He finished this contest with only two points on 1-of-4 shooting in 16 minutes but still was able to rack up a game high six assists, right at his season average of 5.8 . Jenkins demonstrated his command of the offense throughout the first half. He’s able to assess where his shooters are on the wings and on fast breaks and can quickly the ball to them for open shots. He and Soriano were unstoppable in the pick and roll action, constantly being able to break down the defense and get deep in the paint to make something happen for one of his teammates. Jenkins fed his big men with accurate dump in passes, rewarding them for establishing good position. On an off scoring night, he was able to still effect the game and contribute to the blowout win.
Off the bench sophomore Zuby Ejiofor made several highlight plays. His shooting numbers didn’t reflect the overall impact he had as he went 2-of-9 for only five points. However his energy and hustle on both ends helped the second unit maintain the huge lead. He ended the game with seven rebounds, five of those offensive. He constantly provided second chance opportunities on that end of the floor showcasing his athleticism by chasing down and fighting for those loose balls and rebounds. He did struggle to finish a lot of those second chance shots and rushed a few that he should’ve made. On defense his long arms and speed led to fast break dunks for himself or his teammates which showed in the box score with a game high four blocks. His high energy and defensive intensity were infectious as the entire second unit came in and picked up where the starters left off.
As a team defensively St John’s had Holy Cross stifled the enter game, forcing 20 turnovers and collecting 14 steals and six blocks. The Crusaders couldn’t find much production from anyone this game as no player was able to get in double digits scoring. They’ll have a chance to bounce back from tonight’s loss on Wednesday at home vs Maine (4-4) while the Red Storm head to West Virginia on Thursday to face the Mountaineers (2-3).