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St. John’s Finishes 1-2 At Maui Jim Maui Invitational

(Credit: AP / Rick Bowmer) St. John's guard Federico Mussini (4)

(Credit: AP / Rick Bowmer) St. John’s guard Federico Mussini (4)


The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team headed to Hawaii this past week to be apart of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, taking place at the Lahaina Civic Center. They got off to a horrendous start when facing No. 19/16 Vanderbilt in their first game of the Invitational, ending with a 92-55 loss. In their next game, against No. 13/14 Indiana, they only lost by 10 points, 83-73, which was a huge step up from their first game. The Red Storm really showed how much they worked for their third and final game in Maui when they beat Chaminade, 100-93.

St. John’s now stands at 4-2 on the season.

On November 23, freshman Federico Mussini showed what talent he really has, despite the huge loss against Vanderbilt. He scored a game high 14 points, the fourth time this season reaching double figures, while adding two assists and three steals. Mussini’s efforts weren’t enough when The Commodores got an early lead with eight 3-pointers within the first half, ending with a 53.2 shooting percentage and 12 triples. Durand Johnson had 10 points and three steals, while Christian Jones scored eight points and had five rebounds, a team high.

Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet had a team high 13 points, leading four in double figures for the team. Both Camron Justice and Jeff Roberson put up 11 points, while Nolan Cressler made 10. Vanderbilt started off the game with a 9-0 lead at the 17:22 mark. Graduate student Ron Mvouika made St. John’s first basket of the game, following with a layup from freshmen Yankuba Sima. Vanderbilt led St. John’s 53-24 at halftime.

Mussini made nine of his points in the second half and Johnson had eight of his within the final 20 minutes. St. John’s could not get any closer than 28 points down from Vanderbilt. Freshmen Abdul Dial put up four points in the second half, while Senior Felix Balamou shot 4 points and made 4 rebounds. Although St. John’s tried to catch up to Vanderbilt, they just couldn’t do it.

On the second day of the Maui Invitational, November 24, St. John’s played against No.13/14 Indiana, the second Top 25 opponent in the past two days. Federico Mussini, once again, put up double figures, along with Ron Mvouika, with 17 points. Mussini had four game-high steals and finished 6-of-13 from the floor. Mvouika had five rebounds, three assists, and made 7-of-8 free throws.

Indiana led St. John’s by 16, 1:12 to the half, before Christian Jones made a jumper and Durand Johnson shot a three, ending the first half 42-31. The first five points of the second half were shot by the Red Storm, but then Robert Johnson fired back with a 3-pointer for Indiana. Mussini responded to him with his own three and Mvouika added two free throws to cut Indiana’s lead. Indiana then led, once again, by double figures, following three free throws from Ferrell. Amar Alibegovic put up a three before Balamou had a steal leading to a Mussini fast break layup. Mussini’s next 3-pointer made the score 63-56 with 8:43 left.

St. John’s had a 53.8 shooting percentage in the second half. Felix Balamou had a career high 14 points, 10 of which were in the second half. Yogi Ferrell of Indiana had a game high of 22 points. Thomas Bryant shot 19 points while James Blackmon finished with 12. With less than two minutes to go, the Red Storm made it a six-point game but could not get any closer.

On November 25, St. John’s played their last game of the Maui Invitational, beating Chaminade 100-93. Mussini had his best game yet of the invitational, with a game high 24 points, leading a group of six St. John’s players that reached double figures. Mussini scored 19 points in the first half, beating his career high of 18, in the first half, along with Amar Alibegovic who had a career high 17 points, game total. Christian Jones also finished with a career high 17 points and 11 rebounds, his first double double. Durand Johnson was having a good game, along side his teammates, with having a career high 18 points, only within the first 20 minutes. Ron Mvouika put up 12 points while Yankuba Sima shot 10. The Red Storm shot a 59.3 percentage, made 10-of-19 threes, and had 21 assists.

Chaminade’s Kiran Shastri had a game high 19 points while Kevin Hu shot 17 and Sam Daly and James Harper both finished with 15 points. The Silverswords had a 50.7 shooting percentage from the floor and shot 44.8 percent from the 3-point territory. At 16:04, St. John’s had a 15-3 lead after consecutive 3-pointers from Mvouika and Johnson. Chaminade cut the lead to six just before a Mussini trey and an Alibegovic layup-and-one that pushed the lead up to 13. At only 6:14 left in the first half, the Silverswords trimmed the Red Storm lead to just five (37-32). Mussini responded with a couple of threes, as well as Alibegovic, which left a 59-42 lead into halftime.

The second half opened up with a Johnson jump shot, with the Red Storm leading by 19. Chaminade fired back with a 15-4 run, cutting St. John’s lead to only 7, 69-62, with 12:59 remaining. Alibegovic then made a three, which started an 8-2 spurt, putting the Red Storm back up by 13. The Silverswords didn’t like that very much and put up two 3-pointers. Alibegovic then, once again, put up another three, with 5:54 remaining. Shastri and Hu cut the Red Storm lead to five with only 12 seconds left. Johnson then ended the game with two free throws, giving St. John’s a 7-point win.

You can watch St. John’s return to action on December 2 against Fordham at 7pm at the Rose Hill Gymnasium.

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