The St. John’s men’s basketball team will look to maintain its perfect record this season at Madison Square Garden when it welcomes No. 18/18 Seton Hall to “The World’s Most Famous Arena” for the 102nd meeting of the longtime BIG EAST rivals.
The contest, which is slated to tip off at 12 p.m., will be broadcast live nationally on FOX, the first of two network television broadcasts this season between the Red Storm and Pirates. Tim Brandon and Jim Spanarkel will call the action live from Midtown. Fans can also catch the game on the Red Storm Sports Network from Learfield IMG College, as John Minko and Brandon Tierney will narrate the action on TuneIn Radio and Sirius XM.
Tickets for the contest are available by visiting www.RedStormTix.com.
Saturday’s game will serve as the 2020 edition of “The Garf,” a game honoring the memory and legacy of the legendary Howard Garfinkel, who passed away in 2016. For more than 40 years, Garf mentored thousands of future college players and hundreds of future NBA star at his famed Five-Star Basketball Camps. A visionary evaluator of talent and trailblazer in the field of scouting, Garf fostered relationships with the game’s top coaches, many of whom counted the Manhattan native as a mentor and friend.
The Red Storm (12-6, 1-4 BIG EAST) will look to pick up its second ranked win of the season when it hosts Seton Hall in a meeting of trans-Hudson rivals. The Johnnies are currently 1-1 this season against ranked foes, topping No. 16/17 Arizona on Dec. 21 in San Francisco before falling to No. 11/10 Butler 10 days later at Carnesecca Arena. The Red Storm also boasts a win over West Virginia, who was unranked at the time of the victory on Dec. 7 but has since risen all the way to No. 12 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. Dating back to February of 2018, the Red Storm is 6-2 against ranked opponents during regular season play, including a pair of wins at Madison Square Garden against Duke and Villanova, the latter of whom was the defending national champion at the time.
That December win over the Mountaineers was one of two at Madison Square Garden this year for the Johnnies, as the Red Storm also picked up its first BIG EAST victory over DePaul last Saturday afternoon. St. John’s is 6-3 at Madison Square Garden since the beginning of the 2018-19 season.
St. John’s has excelled at creating turnover opportunities in their first season under Mike Anderson, checking in at no. 4 in the nation with 10.6 steals per game through contests played on Thursday. The Red Storm has recorded double-digit steals in each of its last five outings, the longest such active streak in Division I. In 17 seasons as a head coach prior to taking over at St. John’s in April, Anderson saw his teams lead the nation in steals four times and finish among the top 30 on 14 separate occasions. The Johnnies have also excelled at taking care of the ball on their own end, ranking fourth in the NCAA with an average turnover margin +5.8. The Red Storm has surrendered eight or fewer turnovers in three of their five conference games.
Seton Hall (13-4, 5-0 BIG EAST) is the last undefeated team remaining in conference play after knocking off No. 5/5 Butler on Wednesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Myles Powell scored 29 points in the win for the Pirates, going 5-of-14 from three-point range and sinking all six of his free throw attempts. Entering the weekend, Powell is the second-leading scorer in the conference behind Marquette’s Markus Howard, with whom the Johnnies will face off against on Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Both Powell and Howard were Preseason First Team All-American according to the Associated Press. Last season in a pair of split decisions against the Pirates, the Red Storm forced Powell into 5.5 turnovers per game and limited the dangerous deep threat to 25.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Howard, who averaged 25.0 points per game a season ago en route to BIG EAST Player of the Year honors, scored just 25 total points in two regular season games against the Johnnies.
Powell leads two active Pirates in double figures, as Quincy McKnight chips in 10.9 points per game. McKnight, who ranks second in the league with 5.4 assists per game and leads the BIG EAST with a 3.0-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, is coming off a performance at Butler that saw him nearly record a triple-double with 11 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.
The Johnnies, who have struggled to rebound at a high clip in BIG EAST play, will attempt to break out of that slump against a pair of 7-foot-2 big men in Romaro Gill and Ike Obiagu. Gill is coming off one of his best games as a Pirate, scoring 15 of his career-high 17 points in the second half and shooting 6-of-7 from the floor in the win over Butler.
After taking on the Pirates, the Red Storm will hit the road for two games in the Midwest, taking on Marquette on Jan. 21 before heading to Chicago for a meeting with DePaul on Jan. 25.
1495 Sports is proud to bring the following video featuring Head Coach Mike Anderson who chatted with the media prior to the game against Seton Hall
For more information on the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: