No. 17/19 St. John’s has won 10 of its 11 games this season, marking the program’s best start since 1990-91
and it tops the chart for Steve Lavin’s 11-year head coaching career. The Red Storm carries the momentum of a six-game win streak to Barclays Center on Sunday taking on Tulane (9-2) at noon. FOX Sports 1 has the national telecast.
“This team has progressed nicely,” said Lavin after Monday’s contest with Long Beach State. “In particular there has been an impressive progression with the current group of seniors. It’s a clear example of steady, measurable maturation, with their overall win total rising year to year from 13 to 17 to 20 and now a 10-1 record with a national ranking.”
St. John’s is coming off its eighth double-digit victory of the season defeating Long Beach State 66-49 in Queens. Chris Obekpa scored a career-high 16 points to go with eight rebounds, six blocks and two steals helping the Red Storm improve to 7-0 at Carnesecca Arena this season. Phil Greene IV chipped in with 16 points, while Jamal Branch and Sir’Dominic Pointer had 11 apiece.
“Over the course of their time at St John’s this team has demonstrated an old fashioned approach in terms of understanding hard work, perseverance and playing a cohesive brand of basketball are central to achieve winning results,” said Lavin. “We have work to do and plenty of room for improvement but it’s rewarding to see this group making strides in the right direction.”
The Red Storm unleashed another dominant second half performance outscoring Long Beach State 42-29 en route to the 17-point victory. Pointer handed out a game-high seven assists in the contest and has averaged 6.0 in the last two games. He leads the team and ranks 12th in the BIG EAST averaging 3.3 assists per game.
FOX Sports 1 announcers Joe Davis and Donny Marshall will call the action on Sunday. The St. John’s radio broadcast can be heard on 970 AM (WNYM).
Things To Know
- Winners of 10 games in its first 11 contests, St. John’s is off to the program’s best start in 24 years. It is also Steve Lavin’s top start in his 11-year career as a head coach. Prior to 2014-15, Lavin’s best start to a season was in 1997-98 at UCLA when the Bruins opened the year 9-1 and went on to win 24 games advancing to the Sweet 16. Hall of Famer Lou Carnesecca was the last St. John’s head coach to lead the team to a 10-1 record doing it seven times, most recently in 1990-91 when the Johnnies finished with 23 wins and went to the Elite Eight.
- Chris Obekpa has helped key the six-game winning streak, averaging 8.3 points, 8.8 boards and 3.5 blocks per game. Obekpa, who has shot 56.8 percent (21-of-37) from the field in this stretch, went 7-of-8 from the floor on his way to a career-high 16-point performance against Long Beach State (Dec. 22). The junior has recorded a pair of double-figure rebound efforts and has two six-block outputs as part of the current winning streak.
- D’Angelo Harrison moved into sixth place on St. John’s career scoring list with his 22-point performance versus Fordham on Dec. 14. Harrison is the fourth active leading scorer in NCAA Division I with 1,808 points over his four year career at St. John’s. He is two points away from matching Zendon Hamilton (1,810 points – 1994-98) for fifth place on the all-time list. Fourth place is also within reach as Harrison is 18 points behind Bob Zawoluk (1,826 points – 1949-52).
- Over the last three games, St. John’s has a 1.52 assist to turnover ratio and has averaged only 7.7 turnovers as a team. The Red Storm dished out nine assists and had only one turnover as it outscored Long Beach State 42-29 in the second half on Monday en route to a 17-point victory. St. John’s last three opponents have coughed up 54 turnovers (18.0 per game), while the Red Storm has elevated its steals average to 9.7 during this stretch.
- The Red Storm is the top rebounding team in the BIG EAST averaging 39.5 boards per contest. Three St. John’s players rank in the top-10 of the conference in rebounding. Chris Obekpa is third with 8.8 per contest and Sir’Dominic Pointer is fourth with an 7.9 average, while D’Angelo Harrison is ninth with 6.9 per game. The Red Storm is also 11th in the nation averaging 28.7 defensive rebounds.
About the Series
- St. John’s takes on Tulane for the third time in program history.
- Their first matchup was on March 20, 1992 in the NCAA Tournament First Round in Atlanta. The last time the Red Storm and Green Wave met was Dec. 22, 2007 in Honolulu at the 44th Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic. Tulane leads the series 2-0.
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