The Red Storms Brown @ Carnesecca
JAMAICA, NY - St. John’s had an exhilarating win at Madison Square Garden over West Virginia. That was exciting because it was the first time this season that the team played in the historic arena. The place was energetic despite the building not being full. There was a different energy back on campus at Carnesecca arena when they Red Storm played Brown last night, best described as low energy.
The game got a little too close for comfort after St. John’s gave up a big lead, but eventually they kept the visitors from Rhode Island at bay and won 82-71. There wasn’t any real celebration after the game, no smiles on any faces, but it wasn’t because St. John’s let Brown come back.
Unfortunately for St. John’s, they may have lost even though they won the game. Mustapha Heron went down with a leg injury late in the 2nd half of the game. Heron laid on the floor in pain and eventually was carried off the floor by a teammate when he couldn’t put any weight on his leg after he stood up. It would be a huge loss since Heron is one of the leaders of the team and one of the faces of the program this season. The senior guard scored 21 points for the Johnnies before he got hurt.
The other face of this year’s team is L.J. Figueroa and he was asked about the injury to his teammate. Figueroa didn’t know how injured Heron was after the game, but he said the team’s way of thinking comes from the coach. Mike Anderson says when one player leaves, its next man up. If Heron can’t play for any period of time, someone on the team will have the opportunity to fill in the void that will be left, even though it would be a huge one.
If that is the hand the Red Storm is dealt, Figueroa is going to have to do more if the team wants to continue their winning ways once Big East play starts. Last night he was the high scorer with 23 points, and along with Heron is the most consistent offensive threat for St. John’s. After that, it’ll be interesting to see if anybody steps up and becomes more of a threat. So far we’ve seen that the team has a different player every game kind of rise to the occasion. Hearing Anderson talk about the team philosophy this season, they won’t have to change the way the play.
Right now, the best guess to be next man up is Rasheem Dunn. He was the third Johnnie to get into double figures yesterday with 12 points, but the 6 assists he got during the game was more impressive. Dunn has the ability to find teammates because he’s better than average with his passing. It looks like he’s getting more comfortable running the team as the games go by.
After the game, nobody from St. John’s knew how serious the injury to Heron was. Anderson said that he was getting evaluated and hadn’t talked to the trainer before he spoke to reporters. Their next game isn’t until next week when Albany comes to Carnesecca. The extent of Heron’s injury will be known by then. It will be tough for St. John’s if he’s out for any length of time. Even though it’s next man up, there isn’t anybody on the team that does what Heron does.
It may be next man up, but it would be big shoes to fill. It’s really hard to replace the face of the program if that face is on the bench recovering from injury.