St. John's is coming off a westward trip and a difficult loss to the University of San Francisco. Now, the Red Storm returns home and redirect their sights to Fordham on Saturday.
But before the Rumble looks ahead to the upcoming match-up with the Rams, let's take a quick look back at the recent history between the two New York City rivals.
As the Johnnies make their 2012-13 Garden debut, there's no better time for everyone's favorite Rumble time machine to do the same. We've ripped away all of the cobwebs.
In a series that dates all the way back to January 30, 1909 (when Fordham defeated St. John's in a run-and-gun shootout, 21-13), the results are about more than wins and losses. City pride is on the line, which the Rams would rather forget about.
In fact, Fordham has only beaten St. John's three times in the past 34 meetings (St. John's leads 62-21 all time). We'd love to say we had the patience and space to discuss all 83 games played, but we'll stick to the last four.
December 17, 2011 - St. John's 56, Fordham 50 (Rumble recap)
St. John's got revenge for the previous year's Rose Hill debacle when they met the Rams at Madison Square Garden as part of last season's Holiday Festival. In the wake of Nurideen Lindsey's decision to transfer and just before Amir Garrett became eligible, the Red Storm were forced to play with virtually five rotational players. Four of stand-in head coach Mike Dunlap's players fought for the full 40 minutes.
If it weren't for a second half 18-0 surge, St. John's could have very well lost to Fordham for the second consecutive time. The game was ugly, and Fordham's 8 three-point makes kept them within striking distance late. Like it did many times before and after that game, the Storm's offense looked stagnant, unable to get much going against the inferior Rams. To quote our own recap: "One can seriously doubt that James Naismith drew it all up like this."
D`Angelo Harrison led St. John's with 15 points, while Maurice Harkless (when he was 'Moe') recorded a double-double. St. John's got back to .500 on the season.
December 11, 2010 - Fordham 84, St. John's 81 (Rumble...meltdown?)
Steve Lavin had just come aboard at St. John's, and looked to challenge his experienced squad with its second true road test of the 2010-11 season. They had sandwiched two losses to St. Mary's (CA) and St. Bonaventure around a victory at the Alaska Shootout. So a trip up to the Bronx to play the lowly Fordham Rams was supposed to be an easy win. Right?
St. John's built up a 21-point lead behind Dwight Hardy's 30 points. But as the second half progressed, the Rams starting draining threes. And then more threes. The Red Storm's offense became timid as they watched their lead dwindle. Marvin Dominique hit two free throws to give the Rams the lead with 1:31 left and Brenton Butler (22 points) sealed it with a jumper.
As Fordham students rushed the Rose Hill floor, St. John's walked off - in their black alternate uniforms - with one of their worst losses in recent memory. How could they ever recover? Ultimately, they did.
December 13, 2009 - St. John's 73, Fordham 56
It's always nice when two old rivals rekindle the fire. In 2009, St. John's and Fordham met for the first time in seven years. St. John's had three players (D.J. Kennedy, Paris Horne, and Justin Brownlee) score in double figures as they picked up their eighth victory of the 2009-10 season. Despite freshman Chris Gaston's 32 points on the visiting Carnesecca Arena floor, Fordham was unable to overcome the Red Storm's overwhelming athleticism. It wasn't a pretty offensive display - both teams shot under 37% from the field, including the Johnnies going 0-14 from three-point range. Don't you yearn for the days of the Norm Roberts weaving offense?
St. John's would go on to win only 11 of their last 26 games, lose to Memphis in the NIT first round, and fire their head coach.
December 7, 2002 - St. John's 81, Fordham 58
The previous meeting between the two programs was at Madison Square Garden in 2002, when the Red Storm's starting lineup consisted of Marcus Hatten, Elijah Ingram, Kyle Cuffe, Andre Stanley, and Anthony Glover. Four of those starters (and one off the bench - Eric King) scored in double figures as the Red Storm smothered the Rams from start to finish.
Hatten scored 21 points to lead the Johnnies to their third victory of what ultimately became Mike Jarvis' final full campaign in Queens. St. John's won 21 games in 2002-03, capped off by a dramatic 3-point win over Georgetown in the NIT Championship. And, we know, we aren't supposed to mention that game because it "doesn't exist."