Manhattan, NY – The St John Red Storm hosted the Pittsburgh Panthers Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden looking to push their win streak to four, St John’s was without their star forward Julian Champagnie who was out due to COVID-19. St John’s led most of the way, ending the first half up 34-31 in what was a defensive battle all game long. In what was a back and forth second half, Dylan Addae-Wusu made two clutch free throws to tie the game 57-57 with 8.1 seconds left in the game. Starting guard Jamarius Burton would steal the show and be the savior for the Pitt, as he hit the game winning pull up jumper over Joel Soriano to put the Panthers 59-57 with only 0.4 seconds left, handing St John’s their third loss of the season in heartbreaking fashion. Burton led the winners in scoring with 20 points on 5-of-13 shooting, 1-of-2 from deep and a stellar 9-of-10 from the foul line in 37 minutes of action.
Posh Alexander played 34 minutes for St. John’s, scored 11 points on 5-of-14 shooting including 0-2 from deep and 1-3 from the line. Posh was aggressive all game, attacking the basket and looking to score. He was getting to his spots, mainly for the pull-up mid- range jumper. Posh was taking command of the offense by pushing the pace and swinging the ball ahead for semi transition buckets or opportunities. He had a solid five assists to three turnovers, and an outstanding seven rebounds for a 6-0 guard. He also showed why he was the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year last season with five steals and constant pressure all game on the opposing starting guards who had five turnovers each.
Dylan Addae-Wusu scored 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting and 2-of-5 from three in 31 minutes played. He was perfect from the line going 2-for-2 with his only attempts coming down the stretch. Addae-Wusu did well in the first half taking care of the ball, only committing one turnover, and ended the game with three overall to his two assists. He had a negative assist to turnover ratio coming into the game with 23 assists and 43 turnovers on the season. Even with all the turnovers, he shows great confidence to get the ball and be aggressive on the offensive end for his team. Joel Soriano was big all game for St John’s scoring 10 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the field and 2-of-4 from the foul line. He grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots in 29 minutes of play. He was active on the glass all game, helping his team finish defensive plays, and contested every shot at the rim, altering shots, making his presence felt using his 6-11 frame. He made most of the extra minutes given with Julian Champagnie out and led the bench in scoring as well.
St John’s offense came out the gate strong, scoring 23 points in the first 10 minutes of the game, finding themselves up 23-13 at the 10-minute mark. They slowed down in the back hand of the first half only scoring 12 points in the next 10 minutes and only having a four-point lead (35-31) at the half. Esashia Nyiwe started the second half off with a dunk in the first seven seconds off a beautiful pass from Alexander. The Red Storm shot 35 percent (22-of-63) and a modest 33 percent (6-of-18) from the three-point line. They struggled from the free throw line shooting a dismal 7-of-14. St Johns did a decent job taking care of the ball, only committing 14 turnovers to their 15 assists. The biggest discrepancy was in the free throw department with Pitt outscored the Red Storm by 16 points, going 23-28 (82%).
The Red Storm (8-3, 0-0) will look to bounce back Thursday night, when they host Butler (7-4, 0-0). The Panthers (4-7, 0-1) will return home on Tuesday to face off against Jacksonville (6-3, 0-0).