St. John’s guard Tre Campbell knew his team wasn’t the main event Saturday night at the DMV Tip-Off Classic in Upper Marlboro. So instead of just setting the table for the top-billed game between O’Connell and Potomac (Md.), the No. 2 Cadets puts on a show of their own against the No. 11 Pumas.
Campbell scored 12 points, James Palmer added 13 points and three other Cadets scored in double figuresin a 74-61 win.
“I know that’s a big game after us, . . . Everybody is talking about it,” Campbell said, “but we just had to come out here and perform.”
Darian Anderson and Mike Morsell added 13 points apiece and Anthony Cowan Jr. added 10 for the Cadets (5-1), who hit seven of their 10 three-pointers in the first quarter and were not threatened after that.
Wise swingman Trevor Brown scored 21 points. But the Pumas (4-1) simply couldn’t keep up with the up-tempo pace — and hot shooting — of St. John’s. Morsell’s three-pointer late in the second quarter gave St. John’s a 39-27 lead, and it opened the third quarter with six points on its first two possessions to take an 18-point lead, its largest of the night.
“We just had to come out here and play hard,” Campbell said. “We knew they were a good public school team, so we just had to keep playing hard the whole game.”
It was a rare opportunity to take on a Maryland 4A power for St. John’s.
Yet the opponent was all too familiar for Palmer, the game’s MVP. The Miami commit played his sophomore year at the Upper Marlboro school, and knew “they were going to come at me,” he said. With the presence of the Pumas’ bruisers in the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Brown and All-Met football player Micah Till (eight points), he expected a phyiscal matchup.
But Wise’s brawn simply couldn’t match the perimeter skill of the Cadets.
“It’s a good win . . . it’s always good to play public school teams. It toughens you up. They roughen you up a little bit,” Palmer said. ‘It shows us where we’re at, with our level of play.”