After testing irregularities forced the last-minute postponement of Saturday’s game with DePaul, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will return to action on Wednesday at 8 p.m., traveling to Cincinnati for a contest with the Xavier Musketeers.
The game will be broadcast live nationally on CBS Sports Network with Tom McCarthy and Steve Lappas on the call. The game can also be found locally on 970 AM WNYM with John Minko and Tarik Turner narrating the action. The Learfield-IMG College Red Storm Sports Network radio broadcast will also be available through TuneIn Radio, as well as SiriusXM channel 390 and streamed through channel 980.
After extensive testing of the team’s Tier One personnel, the St. John’s medical staff, in accordance with University health officials, concluded that an extended pause in team activities was not necessary, as the COVID issue that forced the postponement of Saturday’s game was determined to be the result of a testing irregularity.
“First, let me begin by thanking our medical staff and University health officials, specifically Dr. Justin Classie, Dr. Kathryn Hutchinson and Jill Christensen, for their guidance and leadership during this challenging time,” said Athletic Director Mike Cragg. “While the decision to postpone Saturday’s game was a tough one, we remain confident that we made the right choice. To be sure, we are equally relieved and thrilled that follow-up testing has delivered good news and that we’re set to resume our schedule.”
Following the postponement of its last two scheduled games against Villanova (Dec. 30) and DePaul (Jan. 2), St. John’s is set to wrap an historically long in-season layoff. The Red Storm’s 17-day break between games is tied for the program’s second longest inactive stretch of the last century. In 1994-95, the Johnnies went 17 days between wins against Pitt (Dec. 5) and Fordham (Dec. 22). Nearly 60 years earlier, St. John’s went 17 days between wins over Niagara (Jan. 12) and Crescent-Hamilton Athletic Club (Jan. 29) in 1937 during the team’s first season under legendary Head Coach Joe Lapchick. Only once in the last century has St. John’s gone more than 17 days without a game during the season, as the 1922-23 team had 20 days between a Dec. 20 win over Brooklyn Prep Alumni and a Jan. 9 win against Niagara.
Despite the two-and-a-half-week layoff, St. John’s (6-4, 1-3 BIG EAST) will look to carry over some momentum from its last outing, a 94-83 win over Georgetown at Carnesecca Arena on Dec. 20. In that contest, the Red Storm put forth its best 3-point shooting effort of the campaign, matching a season-high with 10 triples in the first half alone before finishing 13-of-29 from deep.
Greg Williams Jr. made four of his six 3-point attempts en route to a career-high 26 points against the Hoyas. Williams, who went 8-of-11 from the free throw line, was one of two Johnnies to finish with 20 or more points, as Julian Champagnie fell one rebound shy of a double-double with 20 points and nine boards. Champagnie also made four treys on eight attempts and matched a career-high with four assists. The sophomore from Brooklyn, who ranks second in the league in scoring at 20.3 points per game, has eclipsed the 20-point mark four times in eight contests this season and posted three double-doubles.
Against Georgetown, five Johnnies finished in double figures for the second time in the team’s last three games, as Vince Cole poured in 17 points, Isaih Moore added 12 on 5-of-7 shooting and Posh Alexander chipped in 10.
Having eclipsed the 90-point mark for the third time this season in its last game, St. John’s currently leads the BIG EAST with a scoring average of 82.6 points per outing.
Xavier (8-2, 1-2 BIG EAST), which climbed to No. 22 in the Associated Press poll following an 8-0 start, received votes in both the AP and Coaches Polls this week despite having lost its last two games to Creighton and Seton Hall. In their most recent loss to the Pirates, the Musketeers trailed by as many as 27 in the second half.
The team’s leading scorer this year at 16.7 points per game, Zach Freemantle recorded 20 points and nine rebounds against Seton Hall on Dec. 30. The sophomore from Teaneck, N.J., leads three Musketeers in double figures on the season, as Paul Scruggs averages 14.8 points and a league-leading 6.8 assists per game while Nate Johnson, a senior transfer from Gardner Webb, adds 12.0 points per contest thanks to a 28-of-55 (50.9%) showing from beyond the arc.
St. John’s will look to snap the longest losing streak against a single opponent in program history when it takes the floor at Cintas Center, as the Red Storm has lost 11 straight against Xavier dating back to the 2015-16 season.
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