Following a 1-1 week at home, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will hit the road for a Monday afternoon meeting with No. 25/RV Connecticut.
Tip-off from Gampel Pavilion is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on FOX and 970 AM WNYM. Brian Custer and Donny Marshall will handle the broadcasting duties on television while John Minko and Vin Parise 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 381 and streamed through channel 971.
St. John’s (7-7, 2-6 BIG EAST) will look to climb back above .500 following a narrow loss to Marquette on Saturday in Queens. Trailing by 11 at the half, St. John’s quickly erased the deficit before a back-and-forth finish saw the Golden Eagles claim the last advantage on a Koby McEwen layup with 27 seconds remaining.
Julian Champagnie keyed the Red Storm’s second half run, scoring 15 consecutive St. John’s points in the span of three minutes, including a personal 12-0 burst that turned his team’s 10-point deficit into a two-point lead. After starting 1-for-10 from the field and scoring only two points in the first 24 minutes of action, Champagnie finished with a game-high 20 points. The sophomore from Brooklyn, who leads the BIG EAST in scoring at 20.7 points per game, has reached double figures in all 12 of his appearances with six showings of 20-plus points. The Bishop Loughlin product also ranks in the top 10 of the BIG EAST in rebounding (7.3- 9th), steals (1.7-5th) and blocks (1.2-9th).
Greg Williams Jr. also finished in double figures for the Johnnies, netting 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting. The game marked just the second time in his St. John’s tenure that Williams scored 13 or more points and the Red Storm failed to notch the victory. The Johnnies are 5-0 all-time in games when Williams goes for 17 or more.
Freshman guard Posh Alexander matched a couple of season-highs, tallying eight assists and five steals while also scoring nine points and pulling down four boards. As a team, the Johnnies, who rank fifth in the nation with 10.2 steals per game, recorded 12 thefts and forced 19 Marquette turnovers.
The Red Storm and the Huskies will meet for the first time since 2013, as UConn spent the last seven seasons in the American Athletic Conference before rejoining the BIG EAST this summer. St. John’s and Connecticut have played one another 63 times in a series that dates back to 1951 with the Johnnies holding a 35-28 all-time advantage.
St. John’s has emerged victorious in three of the last four meetings between the two teams dating back to 2010, but has not won in Storrs or Hartford since Jan. 16 2000, a stretch of eight consecutive defeats.
The Huskies (7-1, 4-1 BIG EAST) enter Monday’s contest on the heels of a week-long layoff, as their Friday game against Villanova was postponed due to COVID concerns within the Wildcats’ program. UConn’s only falter this season came in the team’s BIG EAST opener against Creighton, as the Bluejays topped the Huskies, 76-74, in overtime on Dec. 20.
UConn will be without the services of its leading scorer, as James Bouknight underwent elbow surgery on Tuesday. Bouknight, a Brooklyn native, ranks second in the BIG EAST with 20.3 points per page, trailing only Champagnie.
Two other Huskies are currently averaging double figures, as Tyrese Martin is posting 10.6 points and a team-best 7.9 rebounds per game while Tyler Polley, the reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week, averages 10.4 points thanks in large part to a 46.2 percent success rate from beyond the arc.
The Huskies sport the conference’s top defense in terms of points allowed, surrendering just 61.8 points per contest on average. Connecticut has been highly successful at limiting the deep ball, holding opponents to a 28.7 percent clip from beyond the arc, good enough for second in the league. The Huskies also lead the BIG EAST in rebounding margin (+5.8) and blocked shots per game (5.0).
After Monday’s meeting with the Huskies, St. John’s is currently scheduled to have a nine-day layoff before returning to action at DePaul on Jan. 27.
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