Coming off a resounding win over Mercer to start the season, St. John’s faces Donyell Marshall’s group from hard-hittin’ New Britain, the Central Connecticut Blue Devils.
All games are competitive, and Division I teams should never take any opponent lightly, but this game, even more than Tuesday’s tilt against New Hampshire, should be a game to work on the kinks in execution for the Red Storm, tho get some of the players in the flow, and to continue to define the Red Storm’s style under Mike Anderson.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (1-0) vs. Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (0-1)
When: Saturday, November 8th, 4:00 PM ET
Where: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, NY
TV: Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports Go.
Audio: St. John’s website will provide free audio for the game. That stream can be found by clicking here.
Tickets: You can secure a seat for a low of $30 by clicking here.
Famous Central Connecticut State Alumni
Richard Grieco (21 Jump Street), Kenny Johnson (Sons of Anarchy TV show), Erin Stewart (current mayor of New Britain), Ricky Bottalico (pitcher), Mike Sherman (former NFL coach), Scott Pioli (NFL team executive)
Scouting Central Connecticut
Facts: CCSU is really, really young, with six players transferring in the offseason to East Tennessee, Clarendon College and Maryville. The Blue Devils lost by 15 at home to what should be a Hartford team that will struggle, despite a pair of former Big East players in Traci Carter and Malik Ellison (yes, the one who suited up for the Red Storm for two seasons).
CCSU started three freshmen, played three more in the rotation; only two players who earned time last season played.
It could be that the Blue Devils will be hard to scout, and could be full of surprises. The intention looks to be to play fast-paced, use their athleticism and crash the offensive glass.
Karrington Wallace and Jamir Coleman are both 6’7” forwards who will crash the glass. Freshman guard Greg Watson looked for his shots in the team’s first game. Freshman guards Jamir Reed and Myles Baker took 10 of the Blue Devils’ 14 outside shots.
Keys to the Game
Force turnovers early and often. For St. John’s, their ability to generate scores off of turnovers is essential, and this is a game where they can continue to hone the players’ ability to read and react to where the opponent is, covering space and leaving few gaps for deep outside shot.
Manage the inside. Defensive rebounding is an area of improvement, as are fouls. Those issues have been endemic to Mike Anderson’s teams, so St. John’s may simply need to work around those issues and work on stifling three-point attempts (and accuracy) from foes.
Still, this is a game where Julian Champagnie, Josh Roberts and Damien Sears can hone their ability to keep determined forwards off of the glass.
Shoot good shots (and make them). On offense, getting some more players open and in rhythm on three-point shots is key. While more offense out of the forwards would be helpful, the Red Storm need to build up confidence in their jump shots before they face more experienced/ talented foes like Vermont and Arizona State.
In doing that, the Johnnies also need to concentrate on patience and smart shots; bad shots give an opponent with little to lose chances to get easy points.
Central Connecticut is youthful. St. John’s has played down to opponents in the past; maintaining focus, aggressiveness, and not giving up easy points will be key.
Prediction here is that a big lead will result in sloppy play, and CCSU narrows it before getting back on the bus to Connecticut.
St. John’s 84, Central Connecticut 68.