After St. John’s struggled to score 48 points against Niagara, no one thought St. John’s would beat Syracuse on Sunday. The Red Storm played inspired basketball on their home floor Madison Square Garden. The catalyst was Amar Alibegovic who came off the bench to score 15 points and 9 rebounds. On a team that lacks a lot of experience, Amar credited his from last year saying,
“I met some of these guys last year and I recognized how some guys play, like [Trevor] Cooney, who was someone we focused a lot on last year. I just started from the defensive end and tried to do the basic things the coaches told me to do. The zone gave me an opportunity for offensive rebounds and to shoot the ball, which is one of my strengths, and I was able to knock them down.”
Alibegovic was unconscious knocking down 5 of 6 shots including 3 from deep. Phil Greene took notice of his former teammate’s performance.
— Phil Greene IV (@philgreene31) December 13, 2015
- St. John’s was prepared for the 2-3 zone and game plan was on point. Really a huge credit to Mullin coming out with the double high post.
- The team never rattled and stuck to their game plan.
- The bench was fantastic. St. John’s bench outscored Cuse 30-14
- Amar flying through the lane like Sir’Dom on the putback.
- Durand Johnson being shot ready and knocking down shots.
- Amar’s Eurostep in transition had guys believing.
- A concentrated effort rebounding the basketball. The team boasted a +15 margin.
- Federico Mussini did a fantastic job moving into open space and shot lights out in the first half from D’Angelo Harrison deep.
- Kassoum Yakwe playing with great energy off the bench. He quickly got 15 points and attacked the zone fearlessly.
- Yankuba Sima’s touch around the basket is so good. Always feel good seeing him hook shot.
- The poetic press break when the ball never touched the floor completely made Hopkins abandon it. This was good because we know that’s been an achilles heel.
- The spacing, movement without the ball, and decision making was all clicking offensively. This is big for coaching staff to get players and recruits to buy in.
- The amount of recruits at the game who witnessed this game. Couldn’t have planned it better.
- The crowd was loud and energetic. Red dominated orange.
- The weather for December was pretty awesome.
- St. John’s never letting their foot off the gas pedal in the 2nd half. Never played not to lose.
- Amar doing jumping jacks when he was open and then drilling the shot.
- Followed that up with a unimaginable three and gave the crowd a Michael Jordan shrug. Awesome!
- Mussini pump, 1 dribble, three to get the lead back to double digits. Helped me breathe easier.
- Sima and Yakwe protecting the rim all day. No bigger block than Yakwe with a minute left meeting Roberson at the rim.
- Malik Ellison and Darien Williams cheering at the end of the bench and being first guys to greet guys during dead balls.
- Mussini’s post game interview saying this was the best game he’s ever played in. NYC magic!
- Getting this win a day after my Grandfather passed away. It was uplifting for me, my family, and something I’ll never forget.
- Another game without Malik Ellison, Darien Williams, and Marcus LoVett.
- Felix Balamou suffered another injury and he couldn’t return to action.
- The referees calling off Yakwe’s man dunk.
- Sima getting into foul trouble.
- Amar leaving his feet on every pump fake.
- Christian Jones turnovers late in the 2nd half.
- Members of media discrediting Syracuse instead of crediting St. John’s.
- Fox failing to have replays of the game like ESPN.
Beating Cuse for the 2nd straight year is awesome. It’s too bad they’re not in the Big East still because I miss this being a conference rivalry. Chris Mullin has his players prepared for this game and it showed. This team has so much potential but the battle is going to be consistency. Need to play like this against Incarnate Word and not like they did against St. Francis or Niagara.