St. John’s rounds out their non-conference schedule tomorrow afternoon when they take on the Florida State Seminoles at Florida Live Arena. Although tomorrow’s matchup is in Florida, it is a neutral-site game, not a road game, as it is part of the annual Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.
The Red Storm have had a full week off since their last game, which was a 13-point victory over New Hampshire. In this game, the 21-point favored Johnnies were very inefficient shooting the ball, shooting 35.3% from the field and 25% from deep. St. John’s did have a very strong defensive effort as they held UNH to only 51 points, with 9 blocks and 8 steals as a team. The Johnnies only committed four fouls over the course of the game, and held the Wildcats to worse shooting percentages from the field and from deep.
David Jones led the team in scoring against New Hampshire, as he had 20 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. His frontcourt mate Joel Soriano contributed another strong double-double with 14 and 14. Off the bench, AJ Storr provided some solid scoring, with 13 points on 5-9 from the floor and 3-4 from deep. The Red Storm’s starting backcourt struggled offensively, as Posh Alexander, Andre Curbelo, and Rafael Pinzon combined to score 10 points on 3-20 from the field.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (10-1) vs Florida State Seminoles (3-9)
When: Saturday, December 17, 2022, 2:30 PM
Where: Florida Live Arena, Sunrise, Florida
TV: Bally Sports/MSG Network
Odds: St. John’s -7
History: Tomorrow’s game will be the first all-time meeting between the two programs.
Scouting Florida State
FSU ranks towards the bottom of Power 6 teams this season, coming into tomorrow’s matchup with a KenPom ranking of 138th in the country, while St. John’s has dropped a few slots to 52nd. The Seminoles have a 3-9 record so far, although they have been trending up as of late, as their two most recent games have been wins over Louisville and USC Upstate. Their two most recent matchups prior to that were both losses within ten points to Purdue and Virginia, the current best two teams in the nation.
Florida State is coached by Leonard Hamilton, who’s in his 21st season as head coach of the program. Last season, Hamilton led an injury-riddled squad to a 17-14 record and an eighth place finish in the ACC. He was able to return a good amount of his roster this season, although he did lose some key veterans that made up about 50% of last season’s scoring.
Hamilton uses a starting lineup that employs four guards and one big. That big is 7-4 sophomore center Naheem McLeod, a second-year player for the Seminoles who averages 4.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per contest.
In the starting backcourt, FSU is led by 6-5 junior Darin Green, who played the last three seasons at UCF. This year, Green is Florida State’s leading scorer, as he averages 12.8 points per contest while connecting on 41.9% of his 6.2 three point attempts per game. Green is joined in the starting lineup by 6-7 sophomore Matthew Cleveland, last year’s ACC Sixth Man of the Year who currently averages 12.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Another starting guard for the Seminoles is 6-5 redshirt junior Caleb Mills, who played his freshman season for Houston and who started for FSU last season. Mills averages 12.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Florida State’s fourth starting guard was key returner Cam’Ron Fletcher, but he suffered a season ending injury against Virginia. 6-6 sophomore Jalen Warley has taken his place in the starting lineup. Warley is in his second season with FSU and is averaging 5.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals per contest.
Off the bench, Florida State’s top contributors are freshmen, one of which being 6-10 big Cameron Corhen, who averages 7.3 points and 3 rebounds per game. Their other key bench player is 6-7 guard Tom House, who puts up 2.8 points in 10.8 minutes off the bench. 6-10 forward De-Ante Green and 6-5 guard Chandler Jackson have appeared in 8 and 9 games, respectively, each averaging 1.1 points per contest.
Keys to the Game
Good backcourt play. Against a team that starts four guards (and after a poor performance from the Red Storm backcourt), St. John’s needs a good game out of all its guards tomorrow, where pressure is applied on defense and shots are knocked down on offense.
Control the game. The Johnnies can’t afford to lose this game, especially right before Big East play starts. They need to control tomorrow’s matchup by getting an early lead and dictating pace for the rest of the game.
Stop missing threes. Whether it means making more threes or looking for points elsewhere, St. John’s cannot afford to continue shooting threes if they are making them at their current rate, as they have had five straight games with a team three-point percentage below 30.
St. John’s heads into Big East play with a 80-72 win.