After back to back Big East victories, the St. John’s Red Storm (12-8, 2-5) continue to their road trip tonight to one of their toughest conference games this year. They will be in OMAHA! (insert Peyton Manning pun) to face the #20 Creighton Blue Jays (17-3, 7-1) who sit atop the Big East.
This contest between new Big East counterparts can be seen on Fox Sports 1, called by Kevin Kugler and Jim Jackson. These two teams won’t have long before they renew acquaintances, as they will meet again on February 3 in MSG.
Scouting St. John's
If you follow my game feed on Twitter (along with the Rumble game threads) you will see if St. John’s is leading in the second half, I will tweet that it is time to, "FINISH" the game. With the combination of taking smart shots, playing well defensively and rebounding the Johnnies haven’t done that until their game against Butler this past weekend.
One could say that they did it against Seton Hall, but they blew a double digit lead and Seton Hall had the final possession to possibly win the game.
However, in Indiana this past weekend during the second half when the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run to cut the Johnnies lead to 7, they finished. They held Butler to 2 points in the remaining 8:44 and played smart on offense.
Head coach Steve Lavin was obviously pleased with the performance his team showed in the second half considering where they have been. "It's no secret that we've struggled to close out games," he said. "I thought our team exhibited poise and composure down the stretch."
This team seems to have improved the last couple of weeks, and tonight will be a pretty tough to test to see how much they have improved.
Junior swingman Sir`Dominic Pointer stated that "we just need to play our game, and stay focused." In an interview he had with Bloomberg Radio’s John Minko ("voice of St. John’s Basketball") on Monday, Pointer said the keys to this game will be "stopping them from shooting threes, and beating them up and down the court."
St. John’s is a more athletic team than Creighton so if this turns into a track meet, there is a possibility of an upset; the teams that have beaten Creighton this year have all been long and athletic.
However, Creighton is a very a good basketball team that has dominated all seven of their Big East conference wins, beating conference opponents by an average of 17.9 points; only one win was by under 13 points (vs Xavier, 95-89 Creighton victory). Their one loss was to Providence.
Led under fourth year head coach Greg McDermott, the Blue Jays will most likely go the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year. A big reason for this is because they have some kid Doug McDermott. Yes, it is his son.
No, Doug isn't the typical kid getting all the minutes cause his dad’s the coach…he deserves his minutes. He is the nation’s leading scorer right now at 24.3 points per game and will most likely be an NCAA All-American First-Teamer for the third straight year.
Some experts are already giving him the Wooden Award despite all the talent that college basketball has this year. But Creighton has been anything but a one-man team of late. They have had consistent scoring, having five men in double-figures during wins over DePaul, Xavier and Georgetown in the last six games alone.
Along with that, the Blue Jays are first in the assists per game, three point percentage, and three-pointers per game. Think that is a coincidence? They move the ball, and find the open man which leads to open three pointers.
Heading into the weekend Creighton’s Austin Chatman, the injured Grant Gibbs, Jahenns Manigat, and Devin Brooks all ranked in the top 15 in assists for the Big East; Chatman is 4th, Gibbs 5th, Manigat 12th, is Brooks 15th.
Doug McDermott is one point shy of moving into the top-20 in NCAA history in scoring, tying Daren Queenan (2,703). He can also pass Reggie Lewis (2,708) and Hank Gathers (2,723) and move to 18th place on Tuesday.
Big East Player of the Week Ethan Wragge is second in Creighton history in made three-pointers, only looking up at NBA sharpshooter Kyle Korver.
St. John’s leads the all-time series 5-2. Last meeting was 1971, when the Red Storm won 94-73 in the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Creighton 80, St. John’s 70