Following a pair of narrow losses to ranked teams at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team will hit the road for a Wednesday matchup at Xavier.
Tip-off from Cintas Center is set for 6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network with Jason Horowitz, Avery Johnson and AJ Ross on the call. Fans can also catch the LEARFIELD Red Storm Sports Network broadcast with John Minko and Brian Mahoney on the Varsity Network app, TuneIn Radio, XM Radio channel 387 and channel 977 in the SXM app, RedStormSports.com and the St. John’s Red Storm mobile app.
St. John’s will look to win its third straight game on the road when it travels to Cintas Center on Wednesday. Before its two-game homestand, the Red Storm won two BIG EAST road tilts in less than 48 hours, defeating Georgetown at McDonough Arena on Feb. 3 before emerging victorious at Hinkle Fieldhouse for the first time since 2014 on Feb. 5. In those two victories, the Red Storm averaged 82.5 points per game, led by 24.0 points and 7.0 rebounds from Julian Champagnie.
The Johnnies will look to snap another single-arena road skid on Wednesday, as the Red Storm last won at Cintas Center during the 2014-15 season.
The Red Storm played both of its games last week without the services of Posh Alexander, one of the most explosive guards in the country. Through games played on Monday, Alexander ranks seventh in the BIG EAST in scoring (14.9 ppg) and second in assists (5.2 apg), one of only two players in the conference to rank among the top 10 in both of those categories. The reigning BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and a selection to the 15-player watch list for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award, Alexander leads the BIG EAST and ranks seventh nationally with 2.5 steals per game, a category in which he finished sixth nationally as a freshman in 2020-21. This season, No high-major player in the country averages more steals than Alexander.
In Alexander’s absence, Dylan Addae-Wusu shouldered a majority of the ball-handling duties for St. John’s, dishing out five assists and turning in a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in those two games. On the season, Addae-Wusu ranks second on the team and sixth in the BIG EAST with 4.3 assists per contest. Alexander and Addae-Wusu, former high school teammates at Our Saviour Lutheran in the Bronx, are the only teammates to rank inside of the top 10 on the BIG EAST assists chart.
Aaron Wheeler led the team in scoring in its two MSG games last week, pouring in a career-high 31 points against Villanova before adding 13 against UConn. In that career-best performance against the Wildcats, Wheeler connected on 11 of his 17 field goal attempts, including six of his 10 tries from beyond the arc. After averaging 4.5 points in 10 non-conference appearances, Wheeler has reached double figures in 11 of his last 12 games. The Purdue transfer’s 13.8 points per contest during league play are good enough for 12th in the BIG EAST.
After making just one of his 14 field goal tries against Villanova, Montez Mathis rebounded against Connecticut by scoring a team-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor and going 4-of-5 from the stripe. Joel Soriano will look for a similar bounce-back effort, as the Fordham transfer went a perfect 12-for-12 from the floor on the road two weeks ago against Georgetown and Butler.
Xavier (17-7, 7-6 BIG EAST) will return to action for the first time since taking down UConn, 74-68, on Friday at Cintas Center. Iowa transfer Jack Nunge led the way with 22 points and nine boards for the Musketeers. Zach Freemantle, who shared last year’s BIG EAST Most Improved Player Award with Champagnie, and Nate Johnson added 12 points apiece.
On the season, Nunge leads the Musketeers in scoring at 13.1 points per game and is the team’s top rebounder at 7.2 boards per contest. Senior guard Paul Scruggs adds 12.3 points and a team-high 4.3 assists per contest. Sophomore Colby Jones rounds out the team’s double-figure scorers at 10.3 points per outing.
St. John’s and Xavier will meet on Feb. 16 for the second consecutive season, as Mike Anderson notched his 400th career head coaching victory on that date in 2021 with a 93-84 win at Carnesecca Arena. That triumph snapped a 12-game losing streak for the Johnnies against the Musketeers that dated back to the start of the 2015-16 season.
The Red Storm is 4-14 all-time against Xavier with only one of those wins coming in Cincinnati, a 78-70 victory on Feb. 14, 2015, behind 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting from Sir’Dominic Pointer.
After taking on Xavier, St. John’s will return to action at Carnesecca Arena on Friday for a 5 p.m. tip-off against Butler on CBS Sports Network. Tickets for that Friday contest can be purchased here.
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