St John39s shows Posh Alexander how much has changed with

St. John's shows Posh Alexander how much has changed with convincing win over Butler – New York Post

College basketball

Published on January 2, 2024

Updated January 3, 2024, 12:33 a.m. ET

The distinguished Alexander returned home on Tuesday evening and saw how much things had changed.

New St. John's players, new coach and a team that was hardly the same as before.

Alexander, St. John's three-year starting point guard who moved to Butler following the coaching change from Mike Anderson to Rick Pitino, received a warm welcome from Red Storm fans.

The Johnnies players weren't so nice.

They shut down the Brooklyn native after halftime and overwhelmed Butler as St. John's continued to make progress under Pitino.

Daniss Jenkins, not Alexander, was the best point guard on the field and led the Johnnies to a commanding 86-70 victory at Carnesecca Arena.

“At the end of the day, all I care about is winning,” Jenkins said, downplaying the one-on-one duel. “I was happy that they gave him an ovation. He has done a lot for this program and put in a lot of hard work. But I just wanted to get the win. All that mattered to me was a big win.”

Joel Soriano drinks the ball during St. John's win over Butler on Tuesday. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Jenkins has been coming into his own lately, reducing his turnovers and improving his efficiency.

Against Butler, he had 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and just one turnover in 34 minutes.

In the last six games, he has 40 assists and eight turnovers, a ratio of five to one.

It's no coincidence that during this time, St. John's began to emerge and play more like the team many expected.

“He’s a damn good basketball player. “I’m going to miss him so much when he goes,” Pitino said.

However, this wasn't a one-man show. St. John's (10-4, 2-1) held Butler to 32.3 percent shooting in the second half and had six players score in double figures.

Coach Rick Pitino and St. John's picked up their second Big East win of the season. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Joel Soriano (12 rebounds) and RJ Luis each had 14 points and freshman sharpshooter Brady Dunlap scored a career-high 13 after failing to score a single minute in the last four games.

Chris Ledlum, who was questionable with a sprained ankle, posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, helping St. John's win the battle on the glass with 11 points, outpacing Butler with 16 second-chance points and giving them victory by 40 points -26.

“I thought Ledlum deserved a lot of credit. He's only about 70 percent back and said, 'I'm going to go for it, coach,'” Pitino said of the senior forward, who was the team's best player with a plus-16 in 31 minutes. “Our coaches did a great job preparing. He gutted it and we needed that.”

St. John's guard Daniss Jenkins shoots over Butler forward Jalen Thomas during the second half at Carnesecca Arena. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

Alexander scored all 11 points in the first half, making 5 of 12 shots from the field and three turnovers. DJ Davis led Butler with 25 points.

The Bulldogs' leading scorers, Pierre Brooks and Jahmyl Telfort, totaled 20 points on 5 of 20 shooting.

It was an entertaining first 20 minutes, largely controlled by the Johnnies.

They were ahead by as many as eight and never trailed.

The big surprise was Dunlap, who came into the game with 18 points on the season and scored 10 points in the first half, giving the Johnnies a needed boost.

The former St. John's guard drives to the basket against his former team on Tuesday. Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

He looked more confident than he had all season.

Dunlap had performed well in practice and Pitino rewarded him.

“My dad was a college coach his whole life and I kind of grew up watching his players go through their process,” the winger from Newhall, Calif., said. “Ever since I shot the mini-hoop at my house in first grade, it has been a dream of mine to get out there and play college basketball at the highest level and perform at my best.

“Being out there and hitting some shots is just a dream come true for me and I’m just grateful that Coach Pitino gave me the opportunity today.”

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