Johnnies Take Down DII American Easily in Exhibition
Jamaica, NY-- The media didn't come in droves to Carnesecca Arena for the home exhibition match versus American International. For obvious reasons. It is exhibition. But the fans (3869 out of 5602 capacity) came out to support their new look Johnnies nicely in their first game of the season. After a heartbreaking loss 8 months ago versus Villanova in the Big East Tournament, the Johnnies came out swinging with Marvin Clark II, and Justin Simon leading the charge in game number one on the season.
In the Johnnies first ever meeting versus American International, the first half was filled with excitement as the starters (Ponds, LoVett, Simon, Clark II, Ahmed) took the floor, where everyone got to see how Mullin's team would play in a "small lineup" situation. Looked pretty good for a media standpoint, but that was against a Division II opponent. The Johnnies shot 54.5% from the field in the first half, with Brooklyn native Shamorie Ponds leading the way shooting 50% and contributing 13 points, as his counterpart Marcus LoVett lands 10 in the net.
Second half wasn't the best for senior Italian big man Amar Alibegovic, who had four personals, to add to his one from the first half. He, along with Bashir Ahmed both fouled out during the exhibition. AIC cut the deficit as close as 16 points at one point, before the Johnnies unloaded their inner "winning mentality" and went on a 15-5 run.
The Johnnies went on to win 84-52 in their home exhibition game over American International College. "Communication is the biggest improvement upcoming." Shamorie Ponds in the press conference after the game, "I think our defensive communication has to get a little better if we want to see ourselves go from 10 to 20 wins"
Sixth ranked recruit from Missouri and incoming freshman Bryan Trimble Jr, played well in front of the Carnesecca faithful this evening, as he went 2 for 6 from the field, and landing 6 points on the night. But his defense came up big, with 3 steals on the night in 21 minutes. Head Coach Chris Mullin spoke about his progress, asked by Jaden Daly, "He's done really well. Like most high school kids, he had to come in and learn that college basketball is a different pace and whole different conditioning level. He's doing very well and is very open minded. The good thing is that we have guards in front of him that can teach him. He can watch them, and during drills can just get in the line behind them and just do what Marcus (LoVett) and Shamorie (Ponds) are doing. IF he does that, he'll do just fine."
Marvin Clark II spoke about where he believes the team can improve on from the first showing with him and his redshirt counterpart, Justin Simon. "The little things, just the mental aspect of the game. I had a mental breakdown today on the free throw box out, I boxed out but I didn't push them back hard enough. I tipped it and the ball went over my head and they got position. It's just the little things like that and spacing but most importantly defensive things."
Kassoum Yakwe was scratched from the lineup due to an ankle injury (day-to-day). But is probable for next Friday's season opening matchup versus New Orleans.
The Johnnies next contest will be LIVE from the RAC in Piscataway, NJ as they take on old Big East rival, now Big 10 opponent, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, in a charity event benefitting the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The game can be seen on BTN Plus, a paid subscription program.