After explosive opener, St. John's seeks encore vs. Saint Peter's

·2 min read

St. John's began a season of higher expectations with one of the most prolific scoring nights in its extensive history.

The Red Storm, coming off their most lopsided win in nearly 70 years, play host Saturday afternoon to a team that has given them fits in recent years, local foe Saint Peter's.

The Red Storm (1-0) began a season with 10 new players, six of them transfers, and easily cruised to a 119-61 win over Mississippi Valley State. It was their largest margin of victory since opening the 1951-52 season with a 60-point win against Arnold College and their most points since getting a school-record 135 points against Central Connecticut State in 1990.

Julian Champagnie scored 20 points while Posh Alexander collected 18 points, seven assists and three steals. Tareq Coburn added 13 points to led a strong showing by the transfers that also featured 11 points and 13 rebounds from Joel Soriano.

St. John's shot 69.2 percent from the floor and compiled a 48-28 rebounding edge.

"We have potential," Red Storm coach Mike Anderson said. "We have some guys that can do some things that we hadn't been able to do. I like how we rebounded the basketball (Tuesday). We have some guys that are older guys. They're figuring out their roles with our basketball team. They all had some bright moments."

St. John's may be unable to approach those heights again vs. the Jersey City-based Peacocks. Last season, St. John's needed a game-winning 3-pointer with 8.5 seconds left for a 76-75 win over Saint Peter's, and the previous year, the Red Storm nearly blew a 25-point lead before pulling out a 79-69 win.

Saint Peter's opened the 2021-22 season by falling just short in a 57-54 loss to Virginia Commonwealth on Tuesday in Richmond, Va. The Peacocks (0-1) erased a 17-point deficit and took the lead with less than two minutes remaining.

Peacocks guard Doug Edert, who saw his 3-point percentage drop from 44.2 percent to 30.8 percent last season, scored 17 points and hit five 3-pointers against VCU. Saint Peter's also hopes to get more big performances from KC Ndefo, who enters his senior season as the MAAC's Preseason Player of the Year.

Ndefo led the Peacocks last season with an average of 13.7 points per game, and he contributed 6.5 rebounds per contest. He also led the nation in blocks per game (3.64), won a second straight MAAC Defensive Player of the Year award. On Tuesday, he scored 10 points while playing through foul trouble.

"He's developed a lot since I first got him freshman year," Saint Peter's coach Shaheen Holloway said. "He's someone you got to worry about on both ends of the court now."

--Field Level Media