After falling behind early, St. John’s held visiting Albany scoreless for 11 minutes to set the stage for an 85-57 nonconference victory Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y.
Sophomore forward Marcellus Earlington scored 16 points and freshman forward Julian Champagnie added 14 to lead the way for St. John’s (10-2), which scored 21 straight during their first-half spree that all but clinched its sixth win in a row.
Sophomore swingman Malachi de Sousa produced a career-high 22 points for Albany (6-7), which was overmatched in its first meeting with St. John’s since 1924. Sophomore guard Antonio Rizzuto added 12 points.
The Red Storm entered the night having faced the nation’s 11th-easiest schedule according to KenPom.com. Though they didn’t have the services of senior guard Mustapha Heron (15.2 points per game) due to a sprained ankle, it didn’t take long for St. John’s full-court pressure to take its toll.
The Great Danes raced out to an 8-3 lead on sophomore guard Cameron Healy’s 3-pointer with 17:18 left in the first half, but the Red Storm responded with 21 points in a row over 10:54. Champagnie started the run with a layup as he powered his way to 12 of St. John’s first 14 points.
Earlington rammed home a dunk while senior guard Nick Rutherford, junior guard Rasheem Dunn and Earlington added layups during the Red Storm’s extended spree. Junior swingman LJ Figueroa, the team’s leading scorer entering the game, capped things with a runner at the 6:36 mark for his first points.
When Albany senior forward Romani Hansen finally broke the spell by driving the baseline for a layup with 6:17 left in the half, it drew an outsized cheer from the St. John’s crowd.
During Albany’s 11:01 stretch without a point, the Great Danes missed nine 3-point attempts, four layups and one jumper while committing eight turnovers. St. John’s blocked four of those 14 shots and finished the night with a season-high 11 blocks.
—Field Level Media