St. John’s is expected to retain its relatively new starting lineup on Thursday night, when they play host to Monmouth in Queens, N.Y.
In Sunday’s win over Fordham, St. John’s (6-2) tried a new lineup, benching 6-2 guard Stef Smith and 6-11, 250-pound center Joel Soriano.
Inserted in their place were 6-4, 235-pound guard Dylan Addae-Wusu and 6-10, 215-pound forward Esahia Nyiwe. Addae-Wusu had 11 points and a career-high 11 assists against Fordham. Nyiwe had seven points in his first career Red Storm start.
The plan worked as St. John’s beat Fordham 83-69, giving coach Mike Anderson license to stick with that lineup on Thursday.
“I talk about blue-collar, and I put blue-collar guys in the lineup,” Anderson said. “But we’re still a work in progress.”
The Storm’s main standouts continue to be 6-8 wing Julian Champagnie and 6-0 point guard Posh Alexander.
Champagnie leads the team in scoring (21.0) and rebounds (7.1), showing why he was first-team All-Big East last season, leading the conference in points. He also tops the team in three-pointers (22), shooting 40.7 percent from deep.
Alexander, first-team All-Freshman in the Big East last season, leads the team in assists (5.9) and ranks second in scoring (16.0).
Montez Mathis, a Rutgers transfer, has started all eight St. John’s games this season and is third on the team in scoring (11.1).
Alexander, who scored a career-high 23 points against Fordham, has chemistry with Addae-Wusu since they were high school teammates in New York.
Monmouth, which is 0-3 all-time against St. John’s, hasn’t played the Red Storm in eight years.
The Hawks (7-1) have won seven straight games since a season-opening loss to Charlotte.
Monmouth’s King Rice was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after leading the Hawks to the league’s regular-season title last season.
“Our guys love the thought of playing basketball, and they get along so well,” Rice said. “No one wants to be the weak link, and that’s why we continue to get better.”
Monmouth has won five straight road games, the first time the Hawks have done that since the 2016-17 season.
George Papas, a 6-5 guard, is the MAAC’s reigning Player of the Week. He leads the team in scoring this season (17.3), and he is coming off his first career double-double, which included 11 rebounds.
Walker Miller, a 6-11 transfer from the North Carolina Tar Heels, leads the team in rebounds (7.1) and ranks third in scoring (14.6). He is coming off a career-best 24-point game.
Shavar Reynolds, a 6-2 Seton Hall transfer, is averaging 15.8 points and has scored in double figures in six straight games.
Monmouth shoots the ball extremely well — 39.1 percent on three-pointers and 81.5 percent from the foul line. Papas shoots 44.4 percent from deep, and Miller shoots 92.1 percent from the foul line.
–Field Level Media