St. John's Vince Cole
(Photo courtesy of St. John's Athletics)

Two St. John’s newcomers, Posh Alexander and Vince Cole, lead the way to wins on back-to-back days against St. Peter’s and La Salle.

Danny Small

St. John’s was far from perfect in their first two games of the season, but they don’t ask how, they ask how many. And even after almost losing to St. Peter’s for the first time in program history, the Johnnies are escaping their first two games with a perfect record.

The two best returning players on the team were absent on Wednesday and Thursday. Julian Champagnie is still working his way back from injury and Rasheem Dunn was hit in the head on Wednesday, causing him to leave the game and miss Thursday’s action. But freshman Posh Alexander and JUCO transfer Vince Cole stepped in and led St. John’s to two wins.

The pairing teamed up to give St. John’s a thrilling win over St. Peter’s on Wednesday. Down four with less than a minute left to play, the Red Storm were in need of a hero. Cole cut the lead to two with 17 seconds remaining. Alexander stole the inbounds and the ball would eventually find its way to Cole for the game-winning three.

Cole was magnificent all game. The JUCO transfer came off the bench to score a game-high 21 points on 8-for-12 from the field and 3-for-6 from deep. With Dunn missing Thursday’s game, Cole stepped into the starting lineup and didn’t miss a beat. He led the way in scoring with 19 while adding five rebounds and four assists en route to a 17-point win over La Salle.

One of the biggest questions facing this St. John’s team is who will be the go-to guy when the game is on the line? So far, Vince Cole is confidently throwing his name into the ring.

But while Cole carried the load scoring-wise, Alexander contributed in a variety of ways. The true freshman poured in 16 points on 5-for-8 shooting against St. Peter’s, but his impact on the game goes well beyond scoring. His steal in the final seconds against the Peacocks was one of five in the game. He consistently picks up his man 94 feet and his pressure leads to bad possessions and turnovers.

Alexander is also a very unselfish point guard. The Our Savior Lutheran grad is always looking to dish it to the open man, but he definitely needs to cut down on his turnovers. He has just six assists compared to eight turnovers thus far. Cleaning that up should be a top priority for Alexander.

With that said, there’s no denying how comfortable he looks on the court. This type of confidence will go a long way for Alexander. The Johnnies look like they have a top-notch point guard for the next few years.

To be clear, St. Peter’s and La Salle are two teams St. John’s should beat year in and year out. They didn’t look perfect in either game, but this could be a jumping-off point for the Red Storm.

The biggest winner of these games might be head coach Mike Anderson. The biggest contributors in these two wins were guys that he just recruited to come to Queens. Obviously, Cole and Alexander were the two stars, but they weren’t the only newcomers to make an impact.

JUCO transfer Isaih Moore chipped in with 21 points and 16 rebounds in the two games. Freshman guard Dylan Addae-Wusu, who happened to be high school teammates with Alexander, showed that he can defend multiple positions effectively. Even grad transfer Arnaldo Toro offered up some decent minutes off of the bench.

There is still a long way to go before St. John’s reaches their goals this season, but there are positives to take away from this 2-0 start.