St. John’s knows that the opener, a blowout of Bethune Cookman, was a solid start. But one game doesn’t mean that all the questions are answered, every team will come with challenges, and every game - including today’s matchup against the Binghamton Bearcats - is a chance to get better.
“Each and every day we come into the gym and we work hard,” said Marcue LoVett after the game, “and that's what we need."
Hopefully, St. John’s will continue to do just that, as they are set to host the Binghamton Bearcats in the Battle 4 Atlantis campus-site contest. (Even if St. John’s loses, they continue to the Bahamas.
The team’s main goal will be to come away with a win against a tough opponent looking for an offensive breakthrough. St. John’s will need to maintain or increase their intensity, because the America East squad coming in tonight would love to show that things are turning around in the Southern Tier after so many down years.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (1-0) versus Binghamton Bearcats (1-0)
Where: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, NY
When: Monday, November 14th, 6:30 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports Go.
Audio: St. John’s TV All-Access will provide free audio for the contest. That station can be found by clicking here. Also live game audio can be found on 570 WMCA.
Tickets: You can secure your seat by clicking here.
Twitter: Follow @rumbleSBN and @StJohnsBBall for updates.
Last Meeting: This is the first ever basketball contest between St. John’s and Binghamton
The Binghamton Bearcats have a short Division I basketball history. The SUNY school, which fashions itself as the most elite academic institution of the NY public higher education system, is still recovering from an expensive academic scandal.
Former Rider coach Tommy Dempsey took on the very difficult job of rebuilding Binghamton with players who meet academic standards; progress has been slow, with the Bearcats losing 20 or more games in each of his four seasons.
Still, these Bearcats have a chance to be special this season, picked fourth in the pre-season America East poll. Binghamton returns all five starters on a team that finished 6th in the America East, falling just short in the conference quarterfinals.
This season, the Bearcats also add the dynamic scoring guard JC Show (pronounced like “how”), a Bucknell transfer. During his freshman season at Bucknell, Show averaged almost 7 points in 18 minutes of action per game.
After sitting one season out due to transfer rules, Show quite literally put on a show in his Binghamton debut. Against Cornell, Binghamton’s opener and a slim home victory, he scored 23 points, 16 of those coming in the second half. In addition, he connected on 3 of 7 three-point field goal attempts and can be a hard, physical guard to contain.
The guard rotation includes combo guard Marlon Beck, who can be a deadly outside shooter; sophomore passer Timmy Rose, who hasn’t been much of an outside scorer despite his small stature, but has been effective getting into the lane; and sophomore Everson Davis, who is also a decent slasher.
Junior forward Willie Rodriguez is another impact player for the Bearcats, but he missed Friday’s game with an injury. If he does play, note that last season he averaged about 15 points and 7 rebounds per contest. The America East recognized his stellar play, naming him to the preseason all-conference team.
In addition to Rodriguez, Binghamton’s formidable front court is rounded out by fellow big men, Dusan Perovic, and Thomas Bruce.
Perovic, listed as 6-foot-9, averaged about 5 points and 2 rebounds per game last year as a sophomore. Over the summer, Perovic spent time on the Montenegro national team. He can shoot from outside, but likes to use shot fakes to get looks closer to the basket.
Bruce, on the other hand, averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 block per game as a freshman. He is a serious force inside, an intimidating one-on-one matchup in the low post - especially on defense.
If Binghamton can spread the floor effectively and consistently hit three-pointers, big men like Bruce, Rodriguez, and Perovic will have more space to work in the post.
Keys to the Game
Shooting your shot: Arguably the impressive facet of St. John’s game against Bethune-Cookman was the disparity in field goal percentage. The Johnnies shot an astonishing 63% from the field. That was St. John’s highest field goal percentage since 2013, when they converted 66% of their shots at home against Fordham. On the other hand, Bethune-Cookman shot a mere 33%.
Individually, Federico Mussini and Marcus LoVett impressed. Mussini drilled 5 of 6 three-point attempts, also converting 5 of 6 free-throw attempts. LoVett attempted 7 free-throws, making 6 of those attempts. In addition he knocked down 3 of 5 shots from behind the arc.
If St. John’s can continue to shot the ball that efficiently, they won’t lose many contests this year.
Be willing to assist: Most efficient offenses share the ball very well. Last Friday, the Johnnies did an exceptional job setting up others will good scoring chances.
"After the game, I told them the thing I liked best was 21 assists on 33 made baskets.” Said Chris Mullin to reporters following a victory over Bethune-Cookman. “It was a good game. We shared the ball and when you play like that all your teammates can be involved which is nice."
Basketball is at its best when the ball is moving, and multiple players are contributing on the offensive end. Much like they did against Bethune-Cookman, St. John’s must share the ball to keep offensive production high.
Defend the paint: St. John’s wants to make sure other teams around the nation recognize that nothing will come easy for them on the offensive end.
Although the opponent was lowly Bethune-Cookman, the Johnnies impressed in their season opener. Much like they did against Bethune-Cookman, it would be smart to anticipate another St. John’s blowout win.
Final Score: 82-65, St. John’s