St. John's Basketball: What you may have missed in the season opener

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

A quick look back on the things St. John's fans might have missed in the team's season-opening victory on Tuesday.

The St. John's Red Storm play their second men's basketball game of the season Thursday at the Charleston Cougars (5:30 p.m. on ESPNU). The Red Storm (1-0) are coming off a come-from-behind victory, 77-74, over the Detroit Titans, who led by as much as 10 points in the second half Tuesday.

If you missed the Johnnies' season opener, and want an idea of what happened and which of Steve Lavin's young players performed well, here's a taste of what experts are saying around the web.

CBS New York's Jon Rothstein on sophomore guard Phil Greene's break out performance.

All players make their biggest leaps from their freshman to sophomore years — but Phil Greene’s jump appears to be enormous. The Red Storm’s sophomore point guard regularly looked like the best player on the floor in Tuesday’s win against Detroit and displayed a certain aura and confidence that was missing last season. Knocking down outside shots and driving to the rim, Greene looks like he has the requisites to have a breakout season. He finished with an impressive 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists while playing all 40 minutes.

SB Nation's Rumble in the Garden also wrote a feature on Greene's play.

Aggressive, sharp, relentless and gritty. Those are the attributes Phil "The Rock" Greene showed in the opening game of the season. If that continues along with Harrison's play, Chris Obekpa's all-around defensive display, and the rest of the cast playing their roles, St. John's has a lot to look forward to this season.

According to's Kieran Darcy, St. John's head coach Steve Lavin switched to a matchup zone defense in the second half. The move helped the Johnnies get back into the game.

"It’s a zone I used the majority of my career at UCLA, and we broke it out this year," Lavin said. "I thought it was very effective because of our length, and it enabled us to contain the dribble. In our man-to-man defense, Detroit was getting inside of us, through dribble penetration, through rebounding, and the zone seemed to slow their attack some, allowed us to level off their dribblers so they weren’t getting angles to the paint or the rim, and it seemed to just unnerve or discombobulate them a bit."

Darcy also noted Lavin is expecting freshman guard Felix Balamou to play this season, while senior forward God'sgift Achiuwa will more than likely redshirt.

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