This weekend, the St. John’s men’s basketball team will venture outside the friendly confines of Carnesecca Arena for the first time this season, traveling to Uncasville, Conn., for the Air Force Reserve Tip-Off Tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The Red Storm’s first game of the two-day tournament will take place on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Arizona State. The Johnnies will play the following day against either No. 7 Virginia or UMass with tip-off occurring at either 1 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. depending on the result of Saturday’s contest.
Both games will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks. Saturday’s game will be available only on ESPN3 while Sunday’s contest can be found on ESPN or ESPN2 depending on the first game’s result. Saturday’s game can also be heard on 570 AM WMCA while Sunday’s contest will air on 970 AM WNYM. Both games this weekend can also be found on TuneIn Radio and Sirius XM.
St. John’s and Arizona State will meet for the fourth time in the history of the two programs and the third time in the last four years. The Johnnies defeated the Sun Devils in the championship game of the 2010 Great Alaska Shootout before a seven-year hiatus in the series history. Arizona State has claimed each of the last two matchups between the two teams: a victory in December of 2017 at the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Los Angeles and a win in the First Four of last year’s NCAA Tournament in Dayton, Ohio.
Neither St. John’s nor Arizona State has lost a game this season to a team not ranked or receiving votes in this week’s Associated Press Top 25. The Sun Devils fell to now-No. 23 Colorado in China on Nov. 8 while the Red Storm lost to RV Vermont this past Saturday in Queens. Vermont is likely to gain more momentum in the polls again after losing by just six to No. 7 Virginia on Tuesday, a game that featured a second-half lead for the Catamounts against the defending national champions.
The Red Storm heads to Mohegan Sun with a 4-1 record following a five-game homestand to open the season. All four of the Johnnies’ wins were by double digits, including a pair of 30-point victories against Mercer and Central Connecticut State. Arizona State also squared off with CCSU earlier this month, defeating the Blue Devils by 41, 90-49, in Tempe.
The Johnnies boast four players averaging double figures, led by Preseason Second Team All-BIG EAST selections Mustapha Heron and LJ Figueroa at 17.8 and 16.6 points per game, respectively. Heron has led the team in scoring four times in five games thanks in large part to lethal accuracy from beyond the arc, as the senior guard has made 13 of his 20 attempts from three-point range this season. Figueroa has also proved deadly from distance, sinking 15 of his 30 chances from downtown.
Rasheem Dunn averaged 13.5 points in his first two games for St. John’s against Vermont and Columbia. On Wednesday against the Lions, he scored all 14 of his points in a first half that saw the Brooklyn native go 4-for-7 from the floor. Another Brooklyn product, Julian Champagnie, rounds out the Red Storm’s contingent of double-figure scorers at 10.4 points per game. The freshman has recorded no fewer than eight points or six rebounds in any one contest with three double-figure showings, including a season-high 14 points against Columbia.
Junior guard Remy Martin has been leading the way offensively for Arizona State this season, averaging 19.0 points and 4.7 assists in the team’s first three games. The Chatsworth, Calif., native scored just four points in 23 minutes as a freshman against St. John’s in 2017-18 before posting six points in 23 minutes against the Johnnies in Dayton this past March.
Guards Rob Edwards and Jaelen House are also averaging double figures for the Sun Devils with 16.0 and 13.7 points per game, respectively.
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