After outlasting Boston College in a Bubbleville thriller on Monday evening, the St. John’s men’s basketball team will return to action at Mohegan Sun Arena when the Red Storm takes on BYU Wednesday night.
Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. on ESPN2 with Jon Sciambi and Jon Crispin on the call. The game can also be heard on 570 AM WMCA with the broadcast team of John Minko and Brian Mahoney. The Learfield-IMG College Red Storm Sports Network radio broadcast can also be heard through TuneIn Radio, as well as SiriusXM channel 381 and streamed through channel 971.
The game will be part of the Roman Legends Classic, which St. John’s entered this week after a series of schedule changes provided an opening. The Red Storm, which was scheduled to take on Texas Tech on Thursday in the BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle, will no longer make the trip.
St. John’s won the Legends Classic in 2018 when it was held at Barclays Center, beating Cal in the semifinals before downing VCU in overtime to win the title. Shamorie Ponds set a tournament scoring record by pouring in 67 points in those two games.
St. John’s is off to a 3-0 start for the third time in the last four seasons following its win over BC on Monday night. The meeting was the 73rd all-time between the former BIG EAST foes and the Red Storm’s 97 points marked the program’s second-highest total ever against the Eagles.
The Red Storm, which led by as many as 20 in the second half before a late BC surge, was led by stellar performances from a pair of Brooklyn natives. Making his first appearance of the season after missing the first two games with a sprained right ankle, Julian Champagnie went for a career-high 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. The former BIG EAST All-Freshman Team selection has now scored 20 or more points in three of his last four games dating back to last season. The other Kings County product to shine on Monday was Posh Alexander, who put together a sensational first half to help the Johnnies take a 12-point lead at the intermission. The freshman sank all six of his field goal tries, including a pair of 3-pointers, to lead all scorers with 16 points at the break. The former four-star recruit went on to finish the game with 18 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Greg Williams Jr. also finished in double figures with 17 points, hitting five of his six attempts from the floor and going 7-for-10 from the line. He hit four of his six tries from the charity stripe in the final minutes, helping the Johnnies hold off that late BC push. He also threw down the dunk of the season so far midway through the second half, elevating on the fast break and rocking the rim with a one-handed jam that forced a BC timeout.
As a team, the Johnnies made the most of their free throw opportunities, sinking 20 of their 26 tries (76.9%) on the evening. On the season, the Red Storm is currently converting at an 81.3 percent clip and getting to the line with regularity, attempting no fewer than 24 free throws in any one game.
Defensively, the Red Storm forced 19 BC turnovers and subsequently turned those possessions into 25 points. Despite registering a season-low seven steals on Monday, the Johnnies are still averaging nearly 12 thefts per game. Last season, St. John’s finished second nationally with 10.0 steals per contest. In 18 years as a Head Coach, Mike Anderson has seen his teams lead the nation in steals four times and rank inside the top 30 on 15 separate occasions.
BYU enters the week with a record of 3-0, having taken down Westminster, New Orleans and Utah Valley at home. The Cougars will take on USC in the opening game of the Roman Legends Classic on Tuesday afternoon before meeting the Johnnies on Wednesday.
Arizona transfer Alex Barcello is the Cougars’ leading scorer so far this season, pouring in 21.31 points per game on 65.8 percent shooting, including an 11-for-15 (73.3%) effort from three-point range. The 6-foot-2 Barcello is also the team’s second leading rebounder with 6.3 boards per game.
BYU and St. John’s have met eight times since 1951 with the Johnnies holding a 7-1 advantage all-time in the series. The last meeting between the two teams came in December of 1990, as Malik Sealy scored 26 points to lead St. John’s to victory in the championship game of the Cougar Classic. That season, Sealy would lead St. John’s to the Elite Eight.
In addition the St. John’s Athletic Department has announced additional changes to the Red Storm men’s basketball schedule for the coming weeks.
Originally scheduled to play Sacred Heart on Dec. 6 and Fordham on Dec. 8, St. John’s has canceled both of those games due to positive COVID-19 tests within both of those programs.
St. John’s will now host Stony Brook on Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m. inside Carnesecca Arena. That game will be broadcast live nationally on FS1.
St. John’s and Stony Brook will meet for the ninth time in the history of the two programs and the first since 2009. Six of the previous eight matchups, all of which have resulted in St. John’s wins, have taken place at Alumni Hall/Carnesecca Arena.
As of press time, the Red Storm is still in the process of filling the vacancy on its schedule caused by the Fordham cancelation.
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