St. John’s and Michigan showcased relatively new rosters and succeeded in double-digit victories.
On Monday, both schools may get a better gauge on how the rosters perform when Michigan visits St. John’s in New York for a matchup in the Gavitt games at Madison Square Garden.
St. John’s (1-0) is making its debut at MSG under new coach Rick Pitino, who said he wanted to play more games there. The Red Storm are playing their first major conference opponent under Pitino, who completely revamped the roster.
After struggling in an exhibition win over Rutgers and a loss to Pace, the Pitino era opened with Tuesday’s 90-74 victory over Stony Brook and it was one of the few holdovers leading the way. Joel Soriano, who collected 25 double-doubles last season, contributed 22 points, 11 rebounds along with three blocks and the first two 3-pointers of his college career.
“I think they’re learning each other,” Pitino said. “They’re learning me, I’m learning them.”
Daniss Jenkins, who arrived with Pitino from Iona added 17 and eight of St. John’s’ 21 assists. Chris Ledlum, a Harvard transfer, totaled 16 points and 14 rebounds as St. John’s shot 51.5 percent and outrebounded Stony Brook 43-30.
“We just tried to bounce back, man, play our brand of basketball,” Soriano said. “At the end of the day, if we’re gonna lose games, we’re gonna lose by beating ourselves. I thought we were very prepared.”
Michigan (2-0) heads to New York after winning by a combined 55 points at home against North Carolina-Asheville and Youngstown State thanks to strong performances from Olivier Nkamhoua and Will Tschetter and Dug McDaniel.
Nkamhoua, a graduate transfer from Tennessee, is averaging 21 points on 78.3 percent (18-for-23) from the floor. He scored 25 points in the season opener and finished with 17 and 10 boards against Youngstown State.
Tschetter, who averaged 2.3 points last year, added 20 against Youngstown State after finishing with eight in the season opener.
McDaniel added 16 points and has handed out 12 assists so far.
“Everybody is doing what they need to do,” Nkamhoua said. “We’re getting better. We’re learning from each game, so that’s making me happy.”
St. John’s leads the all-time series 4-1 and the schools are meeting for the first time since 2000.
– Field Level Media