St. John's is coming off of quite a high as they get prepared to face Fairleigh Dickinson tomorrow evening at 8:00 PM on CBS Sports at Carnesecca Arena, the first of four straight home games in Queens.
In a packed Carrier Dome in front of a raucous Syracuse crowd the senior-laden Johnnies led the way to a dominant victory from start to finish. Playing 38 and 32 minutes each, Harrison and Greene led the scoring charge shooting a combined 12-26 from the field and 8-14 from behind the arc.
The story of the afternoon though was how these battle tested seniors refused to let the goal of finally beating Syracuse be derailed by a short bench or the crowd (and the turnover issues of Rysheed Jordan).
The good news is the team is playing well.
But the Red Storm, who have at times let low-level opponents get within striking distance, must come out strong against a tough Fairleigh Dickinson team - by playing smart and limiting turnovers.
The Knights are coming off a loss to Notre Dame who are 8-1.
Led by a trio of guards, FDU hung in with the Irish. But at 3-4 their record suggest they are not very good. A look at the box scores in some of their recent games tells of different story.
This team's win loss record has been defined by free throws.
Against the Irish the Knights managed to hit 23-61 field goals shooting 37% The Irish shot the ball a bit better going 27-54, an even 50%, but FDU hit 8 threes to Notre Dame's 4 for the great equalizer. The outcome seemed lopsided because the Irish went to the foul line 25 times hitting 17. FDU, on the other hand, only went to the free throw line 7 times hitting 3.
Coming off a home win against Princeton following a 3 game losing streak the Knights have played their opponents fairly evenly - but haven't gotten many calls. The 3 guards who lead this team are 6'5'' sophomore Matt MacDonald, 6'1'' Freshman Darian Anderson and 6'3'' senior scoring leader Mustafa Jones 15 points per game. Jones and MacDonald both hit 41% of their three-pointers and are excellent free throw shooters each hovering around 90%.
6'7'' senior Darius Stokes and 6'6'' junior Xavier Harris round out the starting five with Harris averaging 5.3 rebounds a game, second on the team to MacDonald's 5.9.
Marques Townes who has spot-started for the Knights adds scoring punch for FDU averaging 5.9 points and does a bit of everything for the Knights. Earl Potts Jr. and Malachi Nic round out the rotation averaging around 4 points each.
This Knights team should by no means be taken lightly as they have proved that if they get some calls, they can make their free throws and hit some threes they can be a threat. We have all seen how the bright lights of New York City and Carnesecca Arena have magical effects on mid major teams that come here to play. It is not everyday these small schools get to play on television and they usually relish the opportunity and have it circled on their calendar.
This time will be no different and St. John's will have to come ready to play days after the emotional high of finally beating the Orange. Will Rysheed clean up his turnovers?
Will Phil continue to shoot the lights out?
Is it possible for Obekpa to continue to play foul free basketball as we head toward Big East conference play?
Gametime is Wednesday at 8 PM at Carnesecca Arena. Tune in to Rumble for the live thread and check back for tv info.