Johnnies Open Up MSG Schedule in Holiday Festival vs. Iona

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

New York, NY--The last time around at Madison Square Garden, the St. John's Red Storm were sent packing by the Villanova Wildcats 108-63. Fast forward nine months later, where the Johnnies (8-2) are set to take on the Iona Gaels (5-4) at 4:30pm on Sunday.

An update on Marcus LoVett has given this team a message for the foreseeable future. Do not expect him back for the next couple of games, and every single one of your efforts must increase against a high powered Iona squad. The last time these two teams played each other was 1995, where the Iona Gaels defeated the Red Storm 70-57 at the MSG Holiday Festival, even though they are roughly 20 miles away from each other in New Rochelle.

Head Coach Chris Mullin's Red Storm are making their 51st appearance in the MSG Holiday Festival. The Johnnies own a 73-39 record all time at the event, and have won six of their last seven MSG Holiday Festival contests.

The Red Storm have been putting on a defensive clinic throughout their first 10 games of the 2017-18 season, which is completely different from last year. In the media press conference yesterday, Mullin spoke with a few of us, "That's the way we train. We try to focus on the way that we train and prepare, and then going out and competing. Not rising to the occasion, or playing differently during any special game. We just train ourselves so when we do it, we are there to compete unselfishly." 

Iona averages three more points a game than St. John's, but they allow roughly 76.2 points-per-game to their opposition, which screams offense for the Johnnies, which has been an issue in some games. "We take our rest, they do their finals, and then we get back to work. It's a good situation. I'm always a believer with rest both physically and mentally is important. Would rather have a fresh body and fresh mind, so I think we should be fine."

Potential Starting Lineup for St. John's Red Storm:

G- Shamorie Ponds

G- Justin Simon

G/F- Bashir Ahmed

F- Marvin Clark II

F- Tariq Owens

Height is a cause for concern for the Iona Gaels, as their starting point guard is 5'10", Schadrac Casimir, who averages 5.8 PPG, and is used as a rotational combination guard. The tallest player in the starting lineup, is graduate student TK Edogi, who averages 11.4 PPG, and plays roughly 27.9 minutes per contest. The Gaels are ranked in the top-25 for turnovers in the NCAA, with 11.1 per game.

The team just north in New Rochelle, also ranks 10th in the NCAA in free throw shooting percentage at 79.4%. The graduate student Edogi, leads the team in attempts made from the charity stripe, by going 16/18 and 88.9%.

Potential Starting Lineup for Iona Gaels:

G- Rickey McGill

G- Schadrac Casimir

G- Deyshonee Much

F- TK Edogi

F- E.J. Crawford

The game can be seen at 4:30pm on FS1, and can be heard on the St. John's University Radio Network on WSJU via the TuneIn app with Nick Diamantis on the call, coverage beginning at 4:00 on both networks.

Joseph Jarzynka