The St. John’s men’s basketball team will begin postseason play on Wednesday night, taking on Georgetown in the opening game of the BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Tip-off between the Red Storm and the Hoyas is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on FS1 and 570 AM WMCA. Tim Brando and Bill Raftery will call the action on television while John Minko and Brandon Tierney will handle the broadcasting duties on the Red Storm Sports Network from Learfield IMG-College. The audio broadcast can also be found on TuneIn, Sirius XM and RedStormSports.com.
St. John’s (16-15) and Georgetown (15-16) both enter the postseason following 5-13 finishes in BIG EAST play. The Red Storm won two of its final three games, both of which came against Quad One competition, to end the regular season while the Hoyas dropped their sixth straight decision on Saturday against Villanova.
The Red Storm’s March turnaround has come in large part because of the team’s sudden success from three-point range. After shooting just 30.4 percent from beyond the arc during their first 29 games of the season, the Johnnies have converted at a blistering 48.3 percent clip since sinking 14 of their 22 three-point attempts against Creighton on March 1. Four Johnnies are shooting 50.0 percent or better from three during that stretch. The Red Storm, which went 9-for-22 (40.9%) from deep against Marquette this past Saturday, is 7-0 this season when shooting 40 percent or better from three-point range.
Julian Champagnie was named to the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team on Sunday, becoming the 21st player in St. John’s history and the first since 2017 to be named to the league’s top rookie team. Champagnie, who won the last two BIG EAST Freshman of the Week awards during the regular season, enters the postseason having eclipsed the 20-point plateau in each of his last two outings. After posting a season-high 23 points in the Red Storm’s loss to Butler on Wednesday, the Brooklyn native recorded his fourth double-double of the campaign with 21 points and a season-high 12 boards against the Golden Eagles.
His four double-doubles on the year are the most by a St. John’s freshman since Moe Harkless tallied 11 before being selected 15th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Since returning to the starting lineup on Feb. 2 following a brief stint coming off the bench, Champagnie is averaging 14.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, both of which lead the team. The Bishop Loughlin product wrapped the regular season ranked in the top three among BIG EAST freshmen in scoring (10.0 per game), rebounding (6.5 per game), steals (1.2 per game) and blocks (0.8 per game).
Champagnie was not the only St. John’s underclassman to finish the regular season strong, as Greg Williams Jr. has reached double figures in each of his last four appearances, highlighted by a career-best 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting form three-point range against Creighton. Before starting his current tear, Williams had finished in double figures just three times in 54 appearances as a Johnnie.
St. John’s dropped both of its regular season games to Georgetown in 2019-20, losing a one-sided affair in Washington on Jan. 8 before squandering a 17-point lead at MSG on Feb. 2. The Red Storm and the Hoyas will meet in the opening game of the BIG EAST Tournament for the third time in the last four years. St. John’s came out on top in each of those previous two meetings, defeating the Hoyas in the 8-9 game in back-to-back tournaments in 2017 and 2018.
2020 marks the third time that St. John’s will enter the BIG EAST Tournament as the no. 9 seed. The Johnnies went 1-1 during the aforementioned 2018 championship, 24 years after going 1-1 as the no. 9 seed in 1994.
St. John’s, which will make its 37th BIG EAST Tournament appearance in 2020, is 28-33 all-time in the conference championship with a pair of runner-up finishes and three titles, the last of which came in 2000. St. John’s has not advanced past the quarterfinals since winning the championship two decades ago.
For more information on the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: