St. John's vs Georgia Tech: Barclays Classic consolation game preview

John Alber

After a heartbreaking 89-82 overtime loss to Penn State last night, the St. John's Red Storm (4-2) will be looking to bounce back and finish in third place by getting a win against the Yellow Jackets from Georgia Tech (5-2). This will be the first game in the final round doubleheader of the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn.

"No one wants to go home from this Barclays event 0-2," Steve Lavin said after last night's game, and the Red Storm will look to build on the positives from last night's performance.

Tip-off is scheduled for 2 PM and the championship between Ole Miss and Penn State will tip-off around 4:30. There will be a live stream of both games on the Barclays Center official website and will also be shown on NBC Sports Network.

Scouting St. John's

For St. John's they will be looking to have a better start this afternoon and build on the positives. "Sometimes you make progress," Lavin said, "you find something in a loss that you don't in blowing out a patsy or sneaking by a team that's inferior."

One constant for St. John's throughout the young season are sluggish and inefficient first halves. Besides Wisconsin (a better team overall), the Johnnies have played down to their opponents and would leave teams hanging around - just asking for trouble.

Scoring by half, in points per possession

TEAM 1H Opp scoring 1H SJU scoring 2H Opp scoring 2H SJU scoring 1H Margin 2H Margin
Penn State 1.25 1.03 1.01 1.20 -0.22 0.19
Longwood 0.66 0.75 0.74 1.15 0.09 0.41
Monmouth 0.77 0.81 0.88 1.15 0.04 0.27
Bucknell 1.10 1.00 0.90 1.17 -0.10 0.27
Wagner 0.61 1.00 1.01 1.07 0.39 0.06
Wisconsin 1.12 0.76 1.55 1.46 -0.36 -0.09

Yesterday, against a better opponent, a "step up in class," according to coach Steve Lavin, was a completely different story.

A big portion of college basketball is momentum, and Penn State just seemed to have a lot of it from the beginning. The Red Storm were trailing the whole game until junior guard D'Angelo Harrison completed a 4-point play and on the next possession hit a floater in the last two minutes of the game to close the gap and send the game into overtime.

Fourth year head coach Steve Lavin has been preaching that by the time January or February comes around this team will be gelling and be a contender. St. John's fans sure hope so, because with the hype going into this season it seems to be a disappointment already.

Today look a for a the Johnnies to be a complete team on both sides of the basketball. On the offensive end they need to rely on Harrison and reigning Big East Rookie of the Year Jakarr Sampson. Both of them scored over 20 points in the opener against Wisconsin, but since then it been Harrison shouldering the offensive load with Phil Greene IV. On defense (which is the bigger issue) they need to close out on shooters. They have been giving up open jumpers and easy penetration into the paint. Chris Obekpa is a game changer, but he can't guard the perimeter too.

Scouting Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech has two strong big men in Robert Carter and Daniel Miller who they look for in the post. The team also likes to run in transition; and they have a senior transfer from Tennessee Trae Golden who can shoot. They also share the ball very well, 35 in the country in assists.

But for the Yellow Jackets a player to be watched is Marcus Georges-Hunt. Georges-Hunt, a six-foot five-inch sophomore, is continuing to develop into a crucial player for Georgia Tech. He is expanding his game each time he steps on the floor for head coach Brian Gregory. He can score in many different ways and could be a tough matchup for the Johnnies on the defensive side of the ball. Gregory also loves the sophomore on the defensive side of the ball because of his size, strength, and athletic ability.

Prediction

I picked Penn State to beat St. John's. However, I think St. John's bounces back. Georgia Tech didn't look all too sharp against Ole Miss. Johnnies 67, GA Tech 59


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