The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will wrap a two-game BIG EAST road swing when it travels to Omaha for a Saturday showdown with No. 7/5 Creighton.
Tip-off from CHI Health Center Omaha is set for 12 p.m. ET on FS1. Eric Collins and Nick Bahe will have the call on television while John Minko and Tarik Turner will handle radio broadcasting duties on 570 AM WMCA. The Learfield-IMG College Red Storm Sports Network radio broadcast will also be available through TuneIn Radio, as well as SiriusXM channel 386 and streamed through channel 976.
The Red Storm (6-5, 1-4 BIG EAST) will look to rebound from a Wednesday loss to Xavier and remain above .500 on the season when it takes on a nationally ranked Bluejays squad for the second time in a little over three weeks.
Against the Musketeers, St. John’s led for more than half the game (20:58), but was undone by a late scoring drought and subsequent Xavier run. Beginning at the midway mark of the second half, St. John’s went nearly seven minutes without a field goal as Xavier went on a 17-1 run to move ahead by 12 with 3:30 to go.
After scoring no more than 10 points in any of his first five appearances this year, Rasheem Dunn exploded for a season-high 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting against Xavier on Wednesday. The redshirt senior guard was one of two Brooklyn natives to finish in double figures, as Julian Champagnie tallied 15 points and nine boards. Champagnie, who fell a rebound shy of a double-double for the second straight game, has reached double figures in all nine of his outings this season and currently ranks second in the BIG EAST in scoring at 19.7 points per game. Additionally, Champagnie also ranks in the top 10 of the BIG EAST in rebounding (6th- 7.7 rpg), steals (6th- 1.6 spg), and blocks (9th- 1.0 bpg) while leading the conference in free throw percentage (90.5%).
Entering the game shooting 50.0 percent from the floor on the season, Greg Williams Jr. had an uncharacteristic shooting night, making just three of his 12 field goal attempts and finishing with eight points. Dating back to his 21-point outburst against Creighton last March at Carnesecca Arena, St. John’s is 6-1 in games when Williams scores 13 or more points and 5-0 in games when Williams posts at least 17.
St. John’s will look to upend a ranked opponent for the first time since that memorable win over the then-No. 10/11 Bluejays at Carnesecca Arena when Williams connected on seven 3-pointers. That victory was one of two against ranked opponents in Mike Anderson’s first year at the helm of the Red Storm, as the Johnnies also took down No. 16/17 Arizona in San Francisco. The Red Storm’s last win on the road against a ranked opponent came on Feb. 5, 2019, when the Johnnies completed a regular season sweep of No. 10/9 Marquette in Milwaukee. A triumph over the seventh ranked Bluejays would give the Johnnies their highest rated win since downing eventual national champion and top-ranked Villanova on Feb. 7, 2018.
After losing their conference opener to Marquette on Dec. 14, the Bluejays (9-2, 5-1 BIG EAST) have gone on a tear, winning five straight against league foes. In the team’s most recent outing on Wednesday night in Omaha, Creighton made its first six 3-pointers of the night in an 89-53 rout of Seton Hall. 11 different Bluejays scored a bucket, led by 19 from Damien Jefferson. As a team, Creighton shot 59.6 percent from the floor and 54.2 percent from deep against the Pirates.
Jefferson is one of five Bluejays averaging double figures on the season. Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year Marcus Zegarowski leads the team with 14.1 points per game while Denzel Mahoney is not far behind at 13.8 points per contest.
St. John’s is 10-12 all-time against Creighton in a series that dates back to 1961. In 2018-19, the Red Storm won for the first time in Omaha behind a near triple-double from Shamorie Ponds that featured 26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals.
Last season, Marcellus Earlington had a career-best outing at CHI Health Center Omaha on Feb. 8, posting a 25-point, 10-rebound double-double.
After Saturday’s game, the Red Storm will return to Carnesecca Arena for a pair of home contests, welcoming Butler on Jan. 12 before hosting Marquette on Jan. 16.
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