Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Postgame Shootaround: St. John's vs. St. Mary's

The Steve Lavin era finally reached its much-anticipated debut, and unfortunately for the Johnnies, it was not a winning one; as St. Mary's rode the sharp shooting of junior Clint Steindl to a 76-71 victory. Even in a game loaded with moments that would have WFAN's Joe Benigno going on a rant for the ages if he were a Red Storm fan, there are many more positives to take from Lavin's return as St. John's returns home tomorrow night for their Carnesecca Arena opener against Columbia. On a side note, since I brought up Benigno, I would also like to mention that tomorrow night's game will also be a battle of update anchors at "The Fan." Not only does midday anchor John Minko serve as the radio voice of the Johnnies, but morning man Jerry Recco provides play-by-play for the visiting Lions.

Okay, I digress. Back to reality, and some of the nuggets that stand out from this morning's (unless you're still on the West Coast, then it's last night's) battle.
  • The tale of two halves lives on.
After holding a 31-28 intermission lead, the Johnnies unfortunately reprised their Dickens-esque play from last season with their inability to score early in the final stanza; paving the way for a 14-0 St. Mary's run that put the Gaels up by 13.
  • No Samhan, no problem.
St. Mary's proved there is life without their big man, with Clint Steindl leading all scorers with 22 points while Matthew Dellavedova added 15 off the bench. Steindl scored all but one of his 22 from beyond the arc with seven trifectas, effectively beating the 2-3 zone Lavin employed defensively.
  • Dwayne Polee is one special player.
If you read one of my recent pieces on JohnnyJungle.com, you'll find that I compared Polee's quiet confidence to my own when I started doing play-by-play for WSJU Radio when I was still in school at St. John's. With 16 points and an impressive dunk in the first half, Polee lived up to his own expectations, and everyone is saying the same thing about him that was said about me: "This kid's really good!" Those who know me well know that I'm much more humble when it comes to compliments if you're scoring at home.
  • These aren't the Johnnies of years past.
Under the defensive-minded style of Norm Roberts, St. John's wasn't a candidate to light up the scoreboard. Under Lavin, however, their style is much more uptempo. Aside from their 100-point exhibition outburst last week, the Red Storm turned a defensive chess match midway through the second half (44-40 with under eight minutes to go) into a track meet down the stretch, ultimately staying within reach all night before coming up just short.
  • Double your pleasure, double your fun.
Two guards named Malik, two guards that post career-high scoring totals while reaching double figures. Malik Boothe turned back the clock to his Christ the King days with 15, while Malik Stith added 13 off the bench and was especially vital to the Johnnies' survival late in the game with an impressive effort on both sides of the ball.

No comments:

Post a Comment