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St. John’s cruises to 97-72 victory over Merrimack

Nov 7, 2022; Queens, New York, USA;   of Merrimack Warriors guard Ziggy Reid (23) drives past St. John's Red Storm guard Rafael Pinzon (24) in the first half at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

David Jones collected 21 points and 10 rebounds as host St. John’s took control in the opening minutes and cruised to a 97-72 victory over Merrimack on Monday night in New York.

Jones produced a standout debut for the Red Storm after transferring from DePaul. In 24 minutes, Jones made 8 of 16 shots, including five 3-pointers, after shooting 27.3 percent from behind the arc in two seasons with DePaul.

Jones led a balanced attack that saw all five Red Storm starters reach double figures and St. John’s shoot 56.9 percent to offset a whopping 29 turnovers.

Montez Mathis added 16 points for the Red Storm, who dominated their first meeting with Merrimack by leading for 37:52, scoring 46 points in the paint and converting 18 layups and dunks.

Posh Alexander added 14 points, six steals and five assists while Andre Curbelo contributed 13 points and seven assists in his debut after transferring from Illinois. The backcourt duo combined for eight of St. John’s 14 steals and 12 of its 22 assists.

Joel Soriano also produced a double-double, with 12 points and 11 rebounds, as St. John’s held a 47-26 rebounding edge.

Jordan Minor led Merrimack with 19 points while Jordan Derkack added 15. Merrimack, the preseason favorite in the Northeast Conference, shot 38.5 percent, committed 21 turnovers and missed 23 of 29 3-point tries.

Jones capped a 23-5 run by hitting a layup to give St. John’s a commanding 32-14 lead with 9:22 remaining in the opening half. Consecutive 3s by Jones and Mathis swelled the lead to 38-17 with 7:40 remaining and the Red Storm extended the lead to 51-30 by halftime.

Jones hit three 3-pointers to give St. John’s a 65-38 lead less than four minutes into the second half, but Merrimack got within 71-56 on two free throws by Derkack with 8:34 left.

St. John’s finished it off with a 16-2 run highlighted by Jones’ fifth 3-pointer to extend its lead to 87-58 with 5:02 left following a layup by Alexander.

–Field Level Media