Saturday, November 25, 2023

St. John's Lets Loose At The Lou In Win Over Holy Cross


The St. John's bench celebrating one of their many baskets on Saturday night. @StJohnsBball.

St. John's returned to Carnesecca Arena in style on Saturday night, as they cruised to a 91-45 win over Holy Cross.

The Red Storm, who are now 4-2 on the season, were led by Joel Soriano, who had 16 points on 8-9 shooting, with six rebounds and an assist. RJ Luis had 14 points (6-13 FG), four rebounds, and an assist, in his season debut off the bench. Jordan Dingle had 11 points on 5-8 from the field and 1-4 from behind the arc, with two rebounds and an assist. Simeon Wilcher had five points (2-6 FG, 1-2 on threes), five assists, and three rebounds. Brady Dunlap also had five points (2-5 FG, 1-3 on threes), with five rebounds.

Pitino Postgame: St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino addressed the media after the game, and he opened with this statement: "When it was 20-20, I liked how we stayed with our gameplan. We said we are going to have our run, don't panic. When you have the lead, play fundamental basketball, which we did do. We made a point of emphasis all week long not to turn the ball over and we really only had seven turnovers in the game, excluding the one we took at the very end. That's the way you must play basketball. I really thought [Simeon Wilcher] did a very good job offensively but did a great job defensively. He was active with his hands, very good at finding open people. I thought he was terrific. [RJ Luis Jr.] is just getting back into the groove. He is one of the more gifted players that I've coached, because he does so many different things. He is a shot blocker, great ball handler, great playmaker, great scorer. He is a very good rebounder. He is just coming into his own, but he is a very talented young man, who is a great teammate and only great things are going to happen for him going forward."

On RJ Luis Jr.'s return: "RJ had to go out there tonight and play [power forward]. Not only has he not practiced much, but he has not played the four much. We want to play him at the four and the three and the two. He is a point-forward. It's difficult on him learning all the sets at the four. He really only made one mistake the whole night, but outside of that he really picked everything up. He is a natural and a terrific young man."

On Kevin Durant attending the game: "It's a great honor for St. John's. Kevin has a lot to do, and there's a lot of people he knows in New York. Him and his agent, Rich Kleiman, who is a great friend of our program, I wanted to thank them and we are very honored to have both of them here...For all of us, [Kevin Durant] is one of the great players in the history of the game. I've said this all along, he is a top five player in the history of the game. One of the great offensive, [6'11"] guys of all time. I don't know if there is a better [6'11"] guy in the game and that's how good he is. I've always told everyone that and have said it for years. We are very honored."

On the team's depth: "I'm not afraid to play any of those guys. I thought Drissa [Traore] played terrific tonight. All these guys are still learning. I told Daniss Jenkins, who played for me at Iona, that they were going to trap him, and he immediately threw the ball into the stands. The next time, he used his pivot and created a great assist. It's great for Simeon to learn behind Daniss because he is the heir to that position. RJ is going to play multiple positions. If we are in a war with West Virginia (their next opponent on Friday), I have not problem putting Simeon or Brady (Dunlap) in the game at any time. Brady played really good defense tonight. They all played really good defense. They all rooted for each other. It was great."

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