It felt as if we were so close to breaking through and taking the lead in yesterday’s game. All in all, we honestly kept that game much closer than it could’ve been and if we could have figured out a way to limit Sandro Mamukelashvili’s production, we could have won that game. Easier said then done of course, but sometimes when a player of that size also possesses that much skill, you have to tip your cap.
Unfortunately I made a fool of myself tweeting this prior to the game yesterday. For some reason I had this sudden jolt of confidence in our team yesterday afternoon that obviously didn’t manifest. The trolling in quote tweets and replies is well deserved on this one.
Now lets get into the important stuff.
I came out of yesterdays game with a few notes about what I’ve been observing so far:
Julian Continues to Dominate
Julian Champagnie has made massive strides early this season and he isn’t showing any sign of slowing down anytime soon. In the loss last night, Champagnie finished with 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. Through four games (missed first few games due to injury) he leads the Big East in scoring, averaging 22.0 PPG. He has added to his offensive game in several ways in comparison to a season ago when he averaged 9.9 PPG. Julian is not afraid to take pull up jumpers and let it fly from beyond the arc this season and is the clear number 1 option for the Johnnies.
Although I’ve only been able to watch on TV (obviously) it is increasingly clear how much more of a vocal leader Champagnie has become this season. While he is only a sophomore, Julian has played more minutes than any other returning player on this year’s roster. The other guys are looking towards him as a leader and he is rising to the occasion.
Is Posh Taking a Step Back?
I’ve been seeing some people on Twitter concerned about Posh’s recent lack of offensive production and it is extremely pre-mature. After the first handful of games we may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves (I know I did) and we have to remember that he is only a freshman. Last night was Posh’s first chance to see what Big East competition looked like. Yes his performance was underwhelming, but let’s not get to ahead of ourselves in the other direction this time. He is currently second in the entire conference in steals per game, which is something for us to be excited about. He is clearly a defensive staple for this team and as he continues to grow throughout this year and in the future, he will take on an enormous offensive role for the Red Storm as well.
The Return of Rah
Rasheem Dunn, we have missed you. In just 16 minutes last night, Dunn recorded 10 points and 3 steals. Dunn’s presence on the court seemingly made everything run smoothly (aside from the final turnover) and he looked confident with the ball in his hands. I loved the way he relentlessly attacked the rim last night and I think his aggressive mindset is going to fair well for him the rest of the way. I would expect Dunn to slide into the starting lineup in the future for either Posh or Vince Cole depending on the matchup.
The best thing about St. John’s current situation is that they have an opportunity to bounce back 48 hours after suffering their loss to Seton Hall. Tomorrow, the Johnnies will take on Georgetown at Capital One Arena.
Last night, St. John’s shot 19% from beyond the arc. NINETEEN PERCENT. That number is unacceptable and shooting that poorly makes it almost impossible to win a game. The fact that they were able to stay in this one until the end while shooting at such a poor clip is a testament to their strong defense. In order to secure their first Big East win against the Hoyas tomorrow, they must shoot better than 19% from deep.
One of of the biggest things I want to see tomorrow is Mike Anderson working to get Rasheem Dunn back to old form, while also getting Posh back to being involved offensively. Rasheem Dunn averaged 11.9 points a year ago, making himself the only returning player who averaged double digit scoring. He can be a catalyst for the offense at times by driving hard to the hoop, getting to the free throw line a bunch, and creating shots for others. Getting Rasheem Dunn back and involved in the offense like he was a year ago will create more opportunities for a guy like Vince Cole to be looking at more open threes.
What I don’t want to see is Rasheem Dunn coming back and then Posh Alexander becoming invisible offensively. Posh is a talent that we have to continue grooming and he can only grow by getting touches in games. It is vital that he stays heavily involved on offense.
The final key to the game tomorrow is keeping Jamorko Pickett off the boards. The 6-foot-9 senior forward has crashed the glass hard for the Hoyas through their first five games, pulling down 10.0 rebounds per game. Keeping big guys off the boards is something that St. John’s has struggled with in the past. Guys like Marcellus Earlington and Josh Roberts should be getting important minutes tomorrow in order to limit Georgetown’s big men. But let’s be real, they probably both won’t get big minutes and instead we will be watching Toro flop around out there!
What Happened Last Time We Played Georgetown?
The last time we played the Hoyas we beat them in the Big East tournament at MSG on the last day fans were allowed to attend college basketball games. We ended that game on a 23-0 run and the boys had everyone in the arena out of their seat. Marcellus was extremely instrumental throughout this comeback that saw St. John’s winning 75-62. Hopefully we get another performance like this tomorrow.