The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team wraps up the 2014-15 regular-season Saturday in Philadelphia against No. 4/4 Villanova (28-2, 15-2) at the Wells Fargo Center. Winning seven of the past eight games, the Red Storm looks for another signature victory to bolster a postseason resume that already features five RPI Top 50 wins.
St. John’s (21-9, 10-7) and the first-place Wildcats tip off at 2 p.m. for a national telecast airing on FOX with announcers Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson. The Red Storm’s radio broadcast can be heard on 98.7 WEPN-FM with John Minko and Brandon Tierney on the call.
The red hot Johnnies picked up their fourth straight win on Wednesday in Milwaukee racing past Marquette, 67-51, at the Bradley Center. Rysheed Jordan (23 points) and D’Angelo Harrison (21 points) energized the Red Storm with their hot 3-point shooting. St. John’s knocked down a season-high 12 treys with Jordan draining five and Harrison had four. The Red Storm shot 72.7 percent (8-of-11) from downtown in the second half to maintain a double-digit advantage the majority of the stanza.
St. John’s will face a major test on Saturday in its final tune up before next week’s BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats are 16-0 at home this season, including four wins at the Wells Fargo Center. The Red Storm tries for its 22nd victory, which would mark the most in the regular-season since 1998-99, but in order to do so will have to slow down the top scoring offense in the BIG EAST (75.7 ppg).
Things To Know
* St. John’s will finish with a winning BIG EAST record for the third time in The Steve Lavin Era. Prior to Lavin’s arrival in Queens, the last time the Red Storm posted a winning conference mark was in 2001-02. St. John’s can finish the regular-season as high as third-place but not lower than fifth-place, which hinges on the league’s results on the final day of the regular-season.
* St. John’s and BYU are the only teams in the nation to have four players averaging 13.0 points or more this season. These four Red Storm players are also in the top 11 of the BIG EAST’s scoring chart. D’Angelo Harrison is second in the league with a 17.9 scoring average, Rysheed Jordan and Sir’Dominic Pointer are tied for ninth with 13.9 points per game, and Phil Greene IV is 11th with a 13.2 average.
* With four straight victories, St. John’s carries its second longest win streak of the season into Saturday’s matchup with No. 4/4 Villanova. Sir’Dominic Pointer (18.8 ppg), Rysheed Jordan (16.5 ppg), Phil Greene IV (15.5 ppg) and D’Angelo Harrison (13.5 ppg) have combined for 88.3 percent of the Red Storm’s scoring offense during the streak.
* The Red Storm is fifth in the nation averaging 6.7 blocks per game and fourth with 202 total blocks. Chris Obekpa (93) and Sir’Dominic Pointer (76) are the top shot blocking duo in the country and have accounted for 84 percent of St. John’s rejections. Obekpa is fourth in NCAA Division I averaging 3.21 blocks and Pointer is 28th with 2.53 per game. Their combined 5.74 blocks per game and 169 total rejections are the most for any teammates in NCAA Division I.
* St. John’s ranks among the top teams in the country in terms of protecting the basketball. The Red Storm leads the BIG EAST and is 24th in the nation averaging only 10.6 turnovers per game. St. John’s is 23rd in Division I with a +2.9 turnover margin.
* Four-year seniors D’Angelo Harrison, Phil Greene IV and Sir’Dominic Pointer were members off Steve Lavin’s first recruiting class in Queens that was rated No. 3 in the nation in 2011. Harrison became one of three 2,000-point scorers in St. John’s history, while Greene IV and Pointer each joined the 1,000-point club. The class also featured two BIG EAST Rookies of the Year in Maurice Harkless (2012) and JaKarr Sampson (2013) who each went on to the NBA, while Amir Garrett pursued a professional baseball career. Garrett is a pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Pointer and Greene IV will each make their 128th career appearance for the Red Storm on Saturday at Villanova. Harrison will play the 122nd game in his career at St. John’s and make his 87th consecutive start.
* D’Angelo Harrison moved into the top-15 of the BIG EAST’s career scoring list with his 21-point performance at Marquette. The 6-foot-4 senior has 1,163 points in conference games, only two behind St. John’s Hall of Famer the late Malik Sealy (1,165) who has the14th highest total in league history. Entering his final BIG EAST regular-season contest, Harrison can rise as high as 11th on the chart which is currently occupied by Boston College’s Billy Curley (1,177 points). Harrison’s 152 3-pointers in BIG EAST games are the 16th-most all-time and he is two away from breaking the top-15.
About the Series
* St. John’s and Villanova will meet for the 111th time in a series that dates back to 1909. The Red Storm owns a 60-50 all-time record against the Wildcats, but Villanova has won 31 of the 60 BIG EAST meetings.
* St. John’s last win against the Wildcats was on Feb. 26, 2011 when the No. 23/25 ranked Red Storm upended No. 14/15 Villanova, 81-68, at the Wells Fargo Center. Dwight Hardy led St. John’s with 34 points.
* The Wildcats have won the last six meetings, however two of the contests went to overtime and three were decided by seven points or fewer. Earlier this season, Villanova defeated the Johnnies, 90-72, at Madison Square Garden despite a game-high 25 point effort from D’Angelo Harrison. The Red Storm led with 12 minutes to go in regulation, but it was after Sir’Dominic Pointer fouled out with eight minutes remaining that Villanova opened a double-digit advantage.
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