St. John’s has had three games to play against fairly inexperienced opponents. Now, with Rasheem Dunn available to play, they step up to their first challenge of the season — perennial America East conference winning, consistently-competitive NCAA Tournament participants, Vermont
Vermont has struggled to shoot the ball in the early games, despite a lot of experience on the roster... but perhaps a matchup against a high-major opponent on national television will wake them from their doldrums.
St. John’s will try to impose their will, but will find that mistakes made will lead to Vermont points.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (3-0) vs. Vermont Wildcats (3-0)
When: Saturday, November 17th, 4:00 PM ET
Where: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, NY
TV: Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports Go.
Audio: St. John’s website provides free audio for the game. That stream can be found by clicking here.
Tickets: You can secure a seat for a low of $37 by clicking here.
Last Meeting: St. John’s has never met the Green Mountain State’s flagship university’s program.
Famous Vermont alumni
Fun fact: The University of Vermont dates back to 1791.
Jacob Collamer (Postmaster General under President Zachary Taylor), John Dewey (psychologist/ theorist/ educator), members of the band Phish, E. Annie Proulx (author of Brokeback Mountain and other novels), Grace Coolidge (President Calvin Coolidge’s wife, First Lady from 1923-1929), John LeClair (hockey player), Rollie Massamino (former Villanova coach), Kerr Smith (Jack McPhee on Dawson’s Creek), Jessica Seinfeld (entrepreneur, wife of Jerry Seinfeld).
The Catamounts are tough and dedicated to defense and playing a cohesive, crisp brand of basketball.
Does that mean they are invulnerable? No, bit it does mean that, if they have St. John’s scouter correctly and make the right plays, they will find opportunities.
Generally, the Catamounts are a good-shooting team that rebounds the defensive end as a group, does not crash the offensive boards, does not foul, and can shoot threes off of simple dribbles, creating space on their own. Vermont is experienced, with one of the best players in the country in Anthony Lamb (#3) on their roster, and have experienced shooting.
That shooting has missed badly in the early going. They have shot 12/65 from beyond the arc; only transfer Duncan DeMuth (#5, from Oklahoma State) is shooting over 30% (he’s 2/5). Point guard Ben Shungu (#24) missed the last game with an injury, guard Stef Smith (#0) is 2/16 inside the arc and leads the team in made threes with four (he’s 4/14, 28%), while Alabama transfer Daniel Giddens (#2) is 2/7 from the field.
The defense has made outside shooting a little worse than Vermont’s 18%; opponents are connecting on 16% of their threes, getting their offense disrupted, and bring held under 1 point/ possession.
Vermont’s offense will likely come.
Lamb is a 6’7”, 220 pound forward who has strong moves inside, but can also face up and shoot threes with a hand in his face. Last year, he put up 24 at Kansas, 25 at Louisville, and 16 in the NCAA Tournament against Florida State. Slowing him down will be key, as will not fouling him; he is active in getting to Vermont’s defensive glass, and will be active on offense.
Lamb has combined with the two Duncan Brothers, senior Everett Duncan (#21) and sophomore Robin Duncan (#4) to get to the free throw line 17 times per game, combined. Robin Duncan is more of a slashing player, who will drive into the paint to break down the defense. He’s been their best assist man this season, Everett Duncan is more of the spot-up shooter.
The Catamounts have size in the 6’11” Daniel Giddens, mentioned before, along with 6’8” Ryan Davis (#35) and Demuth, who is 6’8”. Freshman Aaron Deloney (#1) played over half the game in Vermont’s last outing, scoring 10. (Sophomore Isaiah Powell, who was listed as Isaiah Moll last season, is likely to redshirt.)
A halfcourt game would benefit Vermont; St. John’s, of course, whats to run.
Keys to the Game
Attention to detail in the chaos. St. John’s needs to identify Vermont shooters, closer out before the scorers can attack an off-balance player, and generally, know who the personnel is on the other side of the floor. Some turnovers should happen — Vermont is not that quick — but they will have an idea of how to break pressure, and will exploit any and all gaps. Nicke Rutherford and Rasheem Dunn will need to be talkative and crisp on the floor.
Get the shooters going. Some of the driving in the paint may be tough against the likes of Lamb and Giddens and a dedicated, well-coached Vermont defense. The shots will need to fall from outside of the arc from Mustapha Heron, LJ Figueroa and David Caraher.
Keep the pressure up. Against New Hampshire, the pressure wore down the Wildcats. The Johnnies need to continue to play with the same enthusiasm. The Catamounts are experienced, will make runs, but the Johnnies need to know that they, too, make runs — after the other team is exhausted from the pressure..
Minutes of Hell: 20 | Minutes of “What the Hell Are We Doing?” 20.
Prediction: St. John’s shots don’t fall steadily, Vermont gets hot late. But St. John’s pulls out a win, 73-71.