Johnnies Back Home for One Game vs. Sacred Heart

(Photo taken by St. John's University Athletics)

Jamaica, NY--After a third place finish at the Advocare Invitational, the St. John's Red Storm (6-1) come home to New York and Carnesecca Arena to play Northeastern Conference's Sacred Heart University Pioneers (3-4)

The Chris Mullin led Red Storm team played the first four games of the season at home, which resulted in four consecutive wins. Then they hit the road for the first time in Orlando, where they came away with a pair of victories, but did suffer their first loss of the season versus the SEC's Missouri Tigers in the second game of the Advocare tournament.

A week off for the Johnnies has led to asking Chris Mullin questions regarding the potentially long break, "Time off is always good, as long as you use it in the right way. It's good to get some rest and recovery, catch up on school work, and also just get away from each other for a few days."

In the first couple of games of the Advocare Invitational, sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds lit the lamp with 26 and 31 points in the first two games of the tournament, respectively. But the third game of the tournament versus UCF, was not a nice showing for the Brooklyn native, as he only recorded six total points, and none in the first half of that game. Yet, he was named to the Advocare Invitational All-Tournament team, and earned a spot on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll. 

Currently, Shamorie Ponds ranks fourth in the Big East scoring category by averaging 18.9 PPG, through the first seven games of the season. This squad has seen new life in regard to defense, where this team ranks third nationally with a +7.4 turnover margin ratio. And forcing the ninth most turnovers in the nation as well, by forcing 19.6. Arizona transfer Justin Simon ranks second in the Big East with 8.7 rebounds per game.

Potential Starting Lineup for St. John's Red Storm

G- Shamorie Ponds

G- Marcus LoVett

G- Justin Simon

F- Marvin Clark II

F- Bashir Ahmed

Scouting the Pioneers of Sacred Heart, a team led by senior forward Joseph Lopez, and a team polled to finish fifth in the Northeastern Conference, the Pioneers enter this game with a 3-4 record, after winning the last three, most notably against UMass Lowell on Wednesday 87-80. They now face a much bigger test against an up and coming Big East opponent in the Red Storm. Three of the five starters for the Pioneers are averaging double digit points per game, with Lopez averaging a double double in the NEC.

Potential Starting Lineup for Sacred Heart Pioneers

G- Kinnon LaRose

G- Sean Hoehn

G- Charles Tucker Jr.

F- Mario Matasovic

F- Joseph Lopez

This will be the third time the Johnnies have faced off against the Connecticut school in Sacred Heart, as the last match-up was a major victory 76-49 back in 2007 on the campus in Queens. The Johnnies are 2-0 against the Pioneers, where all three match-ups have and will occur at Carnesecca Arena.

The defense for the Johnnies will continue to be dominant for a specific player, most notably blocks leader Tariq Owens, "What we have worked on since everyone arrived in the summer has been our defense, which has been the main point of emphasis all year. It is good to see our team ha matured enough to stay locked in on the defensive end when shots are not falling. Defense wins games."

The Game can be seen on FS1 beginning at 4:30pm, and can be heard on WSJU St. John's University Radio Network beginning at 4:15 on the TuneIn app.

Joseph Jarzynka