Jack Shearer recorded his first collegiate brace. (Photo courtesy of St. John’s SID)

QUEENS, N.Y. — The St. John’s University men came out of the gate firing, netting three first-half goals to down 10-man Xavier, 3-0, in Big East action Saturday night.

Freshman Jack Shearer recorded his first two collegiate goals in style against the Musketeers (5-2-2, 1-1), scoring in the ninth and 25th minutes to provide St. John’s (5-2-1, 2-0) with an overwhelming advantage early. Both of Shearer’s goals were the result of some nifty ball movement, as David Enstrom and Andrea Previati assisted on the game-winner before Alistair Johnston and Bjarni Rognvaldsson added assists on the first insurance goal.

Filippo Ricupati, the Red Storm’s leading scorer last season, found the back of the net for the first time this season in the 36th minute, wowing the crowd with an outstanding individual effort in the box to set himself up for the goal. Wilhelm Nilsson also recorded his first career assist.

The Red Storm’s defensive unit also provided one of its finest efforts of the season, holding Xavier to only three shots, one of which was on target. Enstrom, Nilsson, Rognvaldsson and Jordan Shankle each recorded a full 90 minutes on the back line, while redshirt junior goalkeeper Andrew Withers made one save to record his fifth shutout in eight tries this season.

Xavier played the final 66 minutes of the game with 10 men after Curtis Hansford was assessed a red card following a dangerous play on Rafael Bustamante.

“We have a great leadership group that’s really been pushing the team forward,” Red Storm head coach Dr. Dave Masur said. “I thought we really took advantage of our crosses and some of the balls in the box that we were able to create and those led to goals. I can’t say enough accolades about our guys tonight, but it’s only one game and we have to be ready for more.”

St. John’s is off to its best start in Big East play since 2007, when the Johnnies opened up conference action with wins over No. 5 West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The Storm has compiled its best record through eight games since 2013, when the Red Storm went an identical 5-2-1 en route to the program’s 20th NCAA Tournament appearance.

The winners of four in a row and unbeaten in their last five, the Johnnies are also on the program’s longest streaks since the 2013 campaign in each of those respective categories.

Saturday’s night’s three-goal outburst marked the Red Storm’s highest offensive output against a ranked opponent since Sept. 1, 2011, when St. John’s topped No. 8 William & Mary, 3-0, on the road in Williamsburg, Va.

St. John’s has now picked up wins over ranked opponents in each of the last two campaigns, downing No. 11/14 Butler, 2-1, last year at Belson Stadium.

After the Red Storm controlled possession in the opening minutes, Shearer broke through in the ninth minute to give his team the lead. Previati began the sequence with a cross from the top right of the box into Enstrom, who headed an attempt on target only to have it turned aside by keeper Zachary Nelson. Shearer buried the rebound for a 1-0 lead.

Just over 15 minutes later, Shearer recorded his first career brace. With the ball on the near sideline, Rognvaldsson delivered a ball into the box for Johnston at the far post. With his defender applying pressure, Johnston touched the ball back to the near side for Shearer, who finished in front and put the Red Storm on top by two.

The Red Storm struck for the third and final time in the 36th minute, when Ricupati scored. After Nilsson sent a towering ball into the box from the other side of midfield, Ricupati headed it skyward and sought to create space between himself and his defender. With the ball falling back toward the turf, Ricpuati stuck out his right foot and flicked it past the charging keeper.

St. John’s visits Lehigh University i Bethlehem, Pa., for a 7 p.m. Tuesday showdown.