St. John’s in prime position to bounce back vs. Fairleigh Dickinson

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St. John’s didn’t pull off the upset at Indiana on Wednesday, but the Red Storm (2-1) step down in class Saturday with plenty of momentum when they host Fairleigh Dickinson in Queens, N.Y.

St. John’s nearly staged a comeback against the Hoosiers after falling to a 13-point deficit but came up just short in a 76-74 defeat on Wednesday night.

“I thought (Indiana) came out with great energy,” St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said afterward. “The crowd got into it. They punched us in the mouth early on. We were fortunate to get into halftime only 12 down.”

He added, “I thought we played on our heels. I thought we came out (after halftime), and our intensity picked up on defense. We sped the game up, and it gave us a chance. I told our guys we didn’t lose that one — we just ran out of time.”

No late-game heroics likely will be needed against rebuilding FDU (0-2), which lost do-everything guard Jahlil Jenkins to the transfer portal and has lost by 44 to Seton Hall and 36 to Northwestern thus far. Perhaps the Knights’ season is best summarized by the fact their Nov. 12 game at Drexel was postponed when FDU’s bus broke down on the way to Philadelphia.

“There are so many things that we need to work on — and we will,” FDU coach Greg Herenda said after the Northwestern loss. “We need to get off to better starts and to learn how to guard better and get better shots. It will happen, but right now the growing pains are difficult.”

He added, “Northwestern is a very skilled and smart team. They presented us with some different problems than Seton Hall, and St. John’s will be another entirely different game, but we have to keep on trying to get better every day and every game.”

Brandon Rush is averaging 12 points for the Knights.

As expected, stars Julian Champagnie (24.7 points) and Posh Alexander (13.3 points, 7.3 assists) are leading the way for St. John’s, which is shooting 43.2 percent from beyond the arc.

–Field Level Media

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