The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will close out its regular season on Saturday when it plays host to longtime BIG EAST rival Seton Hall at 7 p.m. inside Carnesecca Arena.
The game will air live nationally on FS1 with Kevin Burkhardt and Jim Jackson on the call. 570 AM WMCA will carry the contest in the New York Metropolitan Area, as 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 381 and streamed through channel 971.
By virtue of a midweek slate that produced a St. John’s win and losses for Seton Hall and Xavier, the Red Storm (15-10, 9-9 BIG EAST) has two potential paths to a first round bye in next week’s BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden. If St. John’s wins on Saturday, the Red Storm will finish above .500 in BIG EAST play for the first time since 2014-15 and secure a bye to the quarterfinals for the first time since that season. The Johnnies could still finish inside the top five with a loss if the Musketeers lose at Marquette and UConn holds serve against Georgetown.
That Wednesday win against the Friars did not look like a certainty for St. John’s after 20 minutes of play, as the Red Storm trailed by 11 at the break. The second half was a different story entirely for Mike Anderson’s team, as the Johnnies outscored the Friars by a margin of 51-26 in the latter stanza.
Playing without backcourt mate Posh Alexander, who did not dress for the first time this season on account of an injured right thumb, Rasheem Dunn carried the Red Storm to victory in the second half. The redshirt senior from Brooklyn scored 18 of his season-high 21 points in the latter stanza, shooting 7-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the line while dishing out three assists in the period. St. John’s is 6-1 in the last seven games that Dunn has finished in double figures.
Dunn was one of four Johnnies to reach double figures on Wednesday. Julian Champagnie and Isaih Moore both recorded double-doubles in the same game for the second time this season, as Champagnie tallied 16 points and 10 boards while Moore netted 10 points and pulled down a game-high 11 caroms. Champagnie’s seventh double-double of the season tied him for the BIG EAST lead in that category. Moore produced his number in just 20 minutes of action and recorded a game-high plus-minus rating of +26.
Hampered by a back injury for the better part of two months, Greg Williams Jr. started in place of the injured Alexander and scored 15 points. The junior guard from Lafayette, La., scored 13 of his points after the intermission, going 3-for-5 from the field and 6-for-6 from the line over the final 20 minutes. With five minutes gone in the second half and his team trailing by seven, Williams threw down a fast break dunk and drained a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions to help kick start a crucial St. John’s run. Over the last two seasons, St. John’s is 6-1 when Williams scores 15 or more points.
Seton Hall (13-11, 10-8 BIG EAST) enters Saturday’s regular season finale having lost three in a row, including an 11-point setback at the hands of UConn on Wednesday. Prior to that loss against the Huskies, Seton Hall dropped back-to-back road games at Georgetown and Butler.
The Johnnies will be looking to avenge a Dec. 11 loss at Prudential Center in the BIG EAST opener for both teams. Champagnie scored a team-high 24 points in that game while Sandro Mamukelashvili posted a career-high 32 points for the Pirates.
The BIG EAST’s second leading scorer behind Champagnie, Mamukelashvili leads the Pirates with 17.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per outing. The senior leads three Seton Hall players in double figures, as Long Island native Jared Rhoden averages 14.6 per outing while Myles Cales adds 11.9 per contest. Shavar Reynolds, the team’s leading distributor at 4.4 assists per games, is also the team’s top 3-point shooter, sinking 37.0 percent of his tries from beyond the arc.
St. John’s and Seton Hall will meet at Carnesecca Arena for the first time since Feb. 21, 2015, when the famed senior class of D’Angelo Harrison, Sir’Dominic Pointer, Phil Greene IV, Jamal Branch and Khadim Ndiaye closed out their Queens careers with a win over the Pirates. Since conference realignment, St. John’s is 4-3 at home against its trans-Hudson rivals.
Seton Hall is the fourth most frequently played opponent in St. John’s history, as the Red Storm holds a 60-44 advantage in 104 all-time meetings dating back to 1909.
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