After suffering a disappointing defeat at the hands of DePaul on Saturday, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will try to return to its winning ways on Tuesday night at No. 8/6 Villanova.
Tip-off from Finneran Pavilion is scheduled for 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network and 970 AM WNYM. Andrew Catalon and Steve Lappas will handle the television call while John Minko and Brandon Tierney 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 388 and streamed through channel 978.
St. John’s (14-9, 8-8 BIG EAST), which had won eight of its previous 10 games before Saturday’s loss to the Blue Demons, heads to perennial BIG EAST power Villanova sitting sixth in the conference standings. In terms of winning percentage, the Johnnies are .038 percentage points behind Connecticut in fifth and .056 points behind Xavier in fourth. The Red Storm has played three more conference contests than the Huskies and seven more league games than the Musketeers.
Ranked 75th in the NET and 68th in KenPom as of Monday, St. John’s is in need of a win at Finneran Pavilion to bolster its chances for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. A victory would give the Johnnies their third quad one win of the year and their sixth triumph in quad one or two games. As it stands Monday, the Villanova game is the Red Storm’s last remaining chance at a quad one win on the regular season schedule.
The leading scorer in the BIG EAST, Julian Champagnie was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Monday for the fifth time this season. The sophomore posted 21 points and five rebounds in the win over Xavier before posting 29 points and seven boards against DePaul. In addition to leading the BIG EAST in scoring and free throw percentage (88.3%), he also ranks among the top 10 of the conference in 3-pointers made, 3-point field goal percentage, rebounding, steals and blocked shots.
Three other Johnnies finished in double figures against the Blue Demons, as Isaih Moore tallied 16 points, Dylan Addae-Wusu added 13 and Vince Cole chipped in 10. Moore made four of his six field goal tries and went 7-of-8 from the line. Since Jan. 16, Moore is shooting 72.5 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Posh Alexander dished out a game-high five assists against DePaul but scored just five points, his lowest single-game total since Jan. 6. Over the team’s last 14 games, the Johnnies are 9-0 when Alexander finishes in double figures and 0-5 when he scores nine or fewer. In addition to his scoring prowess, the freshman from Brooklyn also leads the team and ranks fourth in the league with 4.5 assists per contest while leading the BIG EAST and ranking eighth nationally with 2.6 steals per contest.
Having already defeated Villanova, 70-59, on Feb. 3 at Carnesecca Arena, the Johnnies are looking to complete a regular season sweep of the Wildcats for the first time since the 1992-93 season. Meeting on Tuesday for the 124th time in a series history that dates back to 1909, the Red Storm and the Wildcats are 3-3 in their last six meetings since a 79-75 St. John’s win over then-No. 1/1 Villanova on Feb. 7, 2018, in Philadelphia.
In that first meeting on Feb. 3 in Queens, Alexander scored a team-high 16 points and dished out six assists while Champagnie posted a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double. Alexander also tallied three steals, as the Red Storm forced Villanova into a season-high 17 turnovers.
Villanova is 3-1 since that loss to the Red Storm with its lone setback coming on the road against then-No. 19 Creighton.
The Wildcats knocked off UConn, 68-60, in their most recent outing at Finneran Pavilion on Saturday. Collin Gillespie had a team-high 20 points while Jeremiah Robinson-Earl posted a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double. Justin Moore and Jermaine Samuels also tallied 11 points apiece for Villanova.
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