St. John's got a glimpse Tuesday night of life on the court without Posh Alexander.
It wasn't pretty and was nearly downright disastrous.
The Red Storm (4-1) had to overcome a nine-point deficit in the final 10 minutes merely to beat St. Francis (N.Y.) of the Northeast Conference, and now will play host to New Jersey Institute of Technology (2-2), another NEC team, on campus Saturday at New York.
It is unclear if Alexander, a preseason first-team all-Big East selection who drives St. John's up-tempo offense at point guard, will be available for the contest. He sat out the St. Francis game and was on the bench with his right foot in a walking boot.
"It was a gut check and that's what you are going to have as you continue to become a team," coach Mike Anderson said, looking at the bright side. "I was just glad to see our guys have some adversity and figure it out. We'll learn from it."
Without Alexander, it was ball handling by committee as the Red Storm finished with 19 assists and 12 turnovers in its 76-70 victory over the Terriers. Vermont grad transfer Stef Smith had six assists and one turnover, while star Julian Champagnie had 23 points, five assists and one turnover.
Rutgers transfer Montez Mathis scored 20 points for St. John's.
"We have a lot of moving parts, and as they come together, they're going to be a good basketball team," Anderson said. "I was proud of Montez. He really rose to the occasion."
NJIT topped Fairleigh Dickenson 62-54 on Wednesday. The Highlanders still are adjusting to the loss of leading scorer Zach Cooks to Hofstra. Miles Coleman had 17 points and 10 rebounds for NJIT on Wednesday.
"Miles was great against the press and made the foul shots when we needed him to," NJIT coach Brian Kennedy said. "We've got to get our bigs going. We'll keep working on it."
The Highlanders were competitive in their only game thus far against a power-conference team, losing 75-61 to Rutgers on Nov. 16. Dylan O'Hearn had 20 points for NJIT, and Coleman added 15.
--Field Level Media