The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will look to register its first BIG EAST win of the season when it welcomes No. 9/9 Creighton to Carnesecca Arena on Thursday.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on FS1 and 970 AM WNYM. Dave Sims and Sarah Kustock will call the game on television while John Minko and Tarik Turner will narrate the action over the airwaves. The Learfield-IMG College Red Storm Sports Network radio broadcast will also be available through TuneIn Radio, as well as SiriusXM channel 380 and streamed through channel 970.
St. John’s (5-3, 0-2 BIG EAST) will look to snap a streak of consecutive losses to begin league play against the nation’s ninth ranked team on Thursday. Creighton (4-2, 0-1 BIG EAST) has lost two of its last three, falling to Marquette at home on Monday after coming up just short of an upset against No. 5 Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse six days earlier. In between those losses, Creighton scored a decisive win in a rivalry game against Nebraska, dropping the Cornhuskers by a score of 98-74 in Omaha.
St. John’s has won three of its last four official games against Creighton dating back to the start of the 2018-19 season, including a 91-71 win over the No. 10 Bluejays on March 1. The victory was the first against a top-10 opponent on campus for St. John’s defeating No. 9 Pittsburgh, 76-74, on Feb. 28, 1987. Greg Williams Jr. scored 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc while Rasheem Dunn finished with 19 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
The teams met again 11 days later in what would be the last on-court action of the 2019-20 season, as their BIG EAST Tournament Quarterfinal matchup was canceled at halftime due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the Red Storm leading 38-35.
The Red Storm opened BIG EAST play on Friday with a 77-68 loss to Seton Hall in Newark before falling in overtime, 97-94, at Georgetown on Sunday night.
Julian Champagnie scored a team-high 24 points against the Pirates before registering his third double-double in just six tries this season with 13 points and 12 rebounds against the Hoyas. On the year, Champagnie leads the conference (among players with more than two appearances), averaging 20.8 points per game. He also sits among the top 10 in the conference with a team-best 7.7 rebounds per outing.
Champagnie was one of five Johnnies to finish in double figures against the Hoyas. Isiah Moore enjoyed his best outing as a member of the Red Storm, exploding for 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting to go along with 14 rebounds. His 14 boards were the most by a St. John’s player since Tariq Owens grabbed 14 against Seton Hall on Dec. 31, 2017. Posh Alexander scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and added six assists, while Williams finished with 13 points, six helpers and three steals. Marcellus Earlington chipped in 10 points despite seeing just 13 minutes of action.
Boasting the BIG EAST’s top scoring offense at 85.0 points per game, Creighton has five players averaging double figures led by Denzel Mahoney’s 16.2 points per contest. Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year Marcus Zegarowski is averaging 13.8 points per game to go along with a team-high 5.8 assists per outing while senior guard Mitch Ballock leads a 3-point-heavy offense with 17 made triples on the year. As a team, the Bluejays are shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc, good enough for third in the league. Last season, the Bluejays finished the year ranked ninth nationally in three-point field goal percentage, converting their long-range chances at a 38.6 percent clip.
St. John’s will seek to shore up its 3-point defense against the Bluejays, as the Johnnies currently rank at the bottom of the league allowing opponents to shoot 37.6 percent from deep. In two of the team’s three losses this season (BYU and Georgetown), the opponent has drained at least 10 treys.
After playing host to Creighton, St. John’s will meet Georgetown for the second time in just seven days when the Hoyas come to Carnesecca Arena on Sunday. The game, which will tip off at 6:30 p.m. on FS1, will mark Georgetown’s first on the Queens campus since the 1980-81 season.
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