Nov. 25, 2015
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LAHAINA, Hawaii - Federico Mussini (Reggio Emilia, Italy) scored a game-high 24 points as the Red Storm closed out play in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational with a 100-93 victory against Chaminade. Mussini led a group of six St. John's players that reached double-figures in the scoring column.
Mussini made 5-of-9 3-pointers in his first-career 20-point performance for St. John's (4-2). The freshman scored 19 points in the first half to best his previous career-high of 18 in just the opening 20 minutes. Christian Jones (Arlington, Texas) finished with career-highs in both scoring (17) and rebounding (11) for his first double-double.
Durand Johnson (Baltimore, Md.) added a career-high 18 points and Amar Alibegovic (Rome, Italy) notched a career-best 17 points. Ron Mvouika (Paris, France) totaled 12 points and Yankuba Sima (Girona, Spain) chipped in with 10 to round out the double-figure performances.
"Obviously, a win makes the long flight home a little more bearable and enjoyable," said St. John's head coach Chris Mullin. "It was important [for us] to be able to bounce back like we did and respond to adversity."
St. John's shot 59.3 percent (35-of-59) from the floor, including a 71.0 percent effort as part of a 59-point first-half output. The Red Storm made 10-of-19 3-pointers (52.6 percent) in the contest and dished out 21 assists.
Kiran Shastri sank 5-of-10 3-pointers to lead Chaminade (0-5) with 19 points. Kevin Hu added 17, while Sam Daly and James Harper finished with 15 points apiece. The Silverswords shot 50.7 percent (34-of-67) from the floor and 44.8 percent (13-of-29) from 3-point territory.
St. John's quickly jumped out to a 15-3 lead at the 16:04 mark after consecutive 3s from Mvouika and Johnson. The Silverswords trimmed the lead to six before a Mussini trey and an Alibegovic layup-and-one pushed the lead up to 13.
Chaminade made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to trim the Red Storm lead to just five, 37-32, with 6:14 left in the half. Mussini then took charge by draining 3s on three-consecutive possessions in just a 1:05 span. He later added another triple before Alibegovic got into the act with a 3-pointer of his own as the Red Storm closed the half on a 22-10 run. St. John's took a 59-42 lead into halftime.
Johnson opened the second half with a jumper to give St. John's a 19-point advantage, its largest of the game. Chaminade trailed by 18 before going on a 15-4 run that cut the Red Storm's lead to just seven, 69-62, with 12:59 remaining in regulation.
St. John's answered as an Alibegovic 3 pushed the lead to 10 and jumpstarted a quick 8-2 spurt that put the Red Storm back up by 13 points. The Silverswords responded with a pair of 3-pointers, but a Mussini three-point play and an Alibegovic jumper pushed the advantage back to 11 with just 5:54 remaining.
Chaminade had one final rally in them as 3-pointers from Shastri and Hu trimmed the lead to five, but just 12 seconds remained and Johnson made two free throws for the final margin.
Recapping St. John's performance at the Maui Invitational Mullin said, "I think after the first night we took a step [in the right direction], and today we were rewarded for that."
St. John's returns to action on Dec. 2 with a 7 p.m. road game against local rival Fordham at Rose Hill Gymnasium.