2006-12-08 / Sports

Four Game Homestand Makes Everything Right Four Johnnies

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist


Freshman shooting guard Larry Wright (right) dribbles past Long Island University's Tyrone Mattison (left) in a 64-46 SJU win. Photo By Peter Borriello.Freshman shooting guard Larry Wright (right) dribbles past Long Island University's Tyrone Mattison (left) in a 64-46 SJU win. Photo By Peter Borriello. JAMAICA, NY - After beginning the season with a pedestrian record of 2-2, the St. John's Red Storm got back on the right track during their four game home stand.

A 3-1 record against three very beatable teams gave coach Norm Robert's squad the ability to correct the mistakes that plagued them early in the season.

veryone is sharing the basketball, it is really fun to play the game," Roberts said last Friday after his team trounced UMBC, 78-57. "These guys know that and they want to play like that. We are going to keep getting better at that. We're [eight] games into a long season. We're going to get better every game. Everyone would like to start out great but I'd rather be pretty good in February when it counts."

February is a month and a half away, so Roberts knows the games on the schedule now are just as important as they are around Valentine's Day.

Even more than that, St. John's seems to solve their turnover problems they had early in the season. During their 78-65 loss to Illinois State on November 25, the Storm turned the ball over 22 times. It was something they worked on over the next week and it showed in their three victories.

"The one thing we talk to our guys about a lot is that we are just not doing the little things," Roberts said. "The little things are the key to the game. If you look at our stats, we have probably improved in all of those pretty areas but our statistics like turnovers, rebounds and offensive rebounds are not where they need to be. We've got to get back to doing those little things. When you combine that with shooting the ball better, then you are going to play better overall."

He was right. Games against LIU, UMBC and St. Francis were supposed to be easy wins for the team, and they were, but it gave the Storm the ability to solve their little problems that were plaguing them.

Tuesday's win against St. Francis also held more importance, because sixth man Daryll Hill returned from a sore knee that kept him out of the UMBC game. Although healthy now, Roberts will keep an eye on the hinge in question.

"I've never been injured before so this is all new to me," Hill said. "Last year it was more of a pain in my knee. I knew I couldn't run or move. Now it's just soreness. I feel like its getting better and I will play [against St. Francis]." "I don't want Daryll going out there playing injured," Roberts said. "He wants to play every game. I told him that it's up to him to let us know how he feels."

St. Johns will visit Niagara this weekend and then return home for a game against New Jersey Institute of Technology on December 21.

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