The St. John’s men’s basketball team will look to pick up its sixth straight win when the Red Storm concludes a five-game homestand against Albany on Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena.
The contest, which is set to tip at 8:30 p.m., will be broadcast live nationally on FS1 with Brian Custer and Jim Spanarkel on the call. The Red Storm Sports Network from Learfield IMG College will also carry the contest and will be available on 970 AM WNYM, TuneIn and SiriusXM. John Minko and Brandon Tierney will call the action over the airwaves.
St. John’s (9-2) will look to record its 10th win of the season when it welcomes Albany (6-6) to Carnesecca Arena. A victory would give the Red Storm its third consecutive season with a start of 10-2 or better.
The Johnnies have enjoyed success in Queens so far this season, going 7-1 in eight games played while outscoring opponents by an average of 16.8 points. The Red Storm will likely go without the services of Mustapha Heron, who had been averaging 18.1 points per game this season at the on-campus home of the Johnnies. The senior guard from Waterbury, Conn., sprained his right ankle last Tuesday night in the Red Storm’s win over Brown and is considered day-to-day.
Heron scored 21 points before going down in that Tuesday win over the Bears and was one of two Johnnies to finish with 20-plus points, as LJ Figueroa netted a team-high 23 points in the win. Figueroa, who was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor for the first time this season on Monday, did his damage in just 24 minutes of action, going 4-for-7 from two-point range and sinking all six of his free throw attempts. The effort marked the first time this season that St. John’s produced two 20-point scorers in the same game.
The Red Storm proved lethal from the charity stripe for the second straight outing, sinking 24 of its 26 free throw tries to help hold off a late Brown rally. Three days earlier against West Virginia, the Johnnies made 22 of their 27 chances, including two Rasheem Dunn free throws to seal the game with five seconds remaining. In the first nine games of the season, the Red Storm had shot better than 70.0 percent from the charity stripe just once, a 25-for-31 effort against Mercer in the team’s season opener.
In addition to recording its highest success rate of the season from the free throw line against Brown, the Johnnies also put forth their best game of the year in terms of ball protection. The Red Storm coughed up a season-low six turnovers while forcing the Bears into 14 of their own. Through games played on Monday, the Red Storm leads the BIG EAST and ranks 20th nationally with an average turnover margin of +4.8. St. John’s is 8-0 this season when turning in an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1:1 or better.
St. John’s and Albany will meet for the first time in nearly a century when the two teams square off on Wednesday. The Johnnies own a 5-3 edge in the series history against Albany with the last of those wins coming on Jan. 10, 1924.
Albany travels down the New York Thruway after snapping a three-game skid with a home win over Niagara on Saturday. Prior to that victory, the Great Danes had lost three straight to Yale, Bucknell and Boston College.
Senior guard Ahmad Clark led the way for Albany against Niagara, posting 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting go along with eight assists and six rebounds. Clark, a native of Bowie, Md., and a product of DeMatha Catholic, is the second leading scorer on the team behind sophomore Cameron Healy. A 6-foot-3 guard from Sydney, Australia, Healy is averaging 17.1 points per game and has made 40 of his 42 tries from the charity stripe (95.2%). Healy has cracked the 20-point plateau four times this year, including a season-high 24 points in the team’s win over Sacred Heart on Nov. 23.
After taking on Albany, the Red Storm will close out non-conference play with a neutral site showdown against No. 16/17 Arizona on Dec. 21 in San Francisco. The game, which is part of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Al Attles Classic, will take place at Chase Center, the brand new home of the Golden State Warriors. The game is set to tip off at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and 970 AM WNYM.
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