Red Storm Head North to Face Saint Joseph's at Mohegan Sun

Uncasville, CT--Continuing solid play versus the Iona Gaels this past Sunday in a huge victory at Madison Square Garden, the Johnnies (9-2) continue their road to the first winning season under Chris Mullin, as they travel north to Mohegan Sun to battle Saint Joseph's of Philadelphia (5-5).

This rivalry between the two schools has gone back to December 10th, 1919 in the John Lavin and John Crenny eras, when the Johnnies defeated the Hawks 33-27 at the time. In the last five meetings between the two, the Red Storm lead 5-0, with the latest win coming back on March 19th, 2013 in Philadelphia, where they advanced to the NIT Tournament, 63-61 in the Sir'Dominic Pointer era.

Recapping the victory over Iona, the Johnnies defeated their northern rival from New Rochelle 69-59 at Madison Square Garden this past Sunday. Bronx senior combo guard Bashir Ahmed registered his second career double double by netting 12 points along with 11 boards. But the biggest story was Big East Weekly Honor Roll winner Shamorie Ponds, who has been extraordinary in a shorthanded lineup, as he registered 16 points in the contest.

Coming into this contest, California native and Arizona transfer Justin Simon leads the Big East in steals with 29 with an average of 2.6 steals per game. Teammate Shamorie Ponds ranks second not too far behind Simon with 28 of his own take aways on the season. The Red Storm come into the contest with the worst field goal shooting percentage, averaging 41.7% from the field as a team, but they compliment it with the best field goal defensive percentage as they have only allowed 36.8% of shots to be successful against the opponents they've faced so far this season.

The Red Storm lead the Big East in blocks per game with 72 as a team coming into the contest, as junior Tariq Owens had six blocks alone versus Iona on Sunday.

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

On the flip side, for the "other" SJU team in the Saint Joseph's Hawks of Philadelphia. Coming off a victory over the University of Maine on Sunday 72-59 at Hagan Arena, the Hawks had three players with double digit points, all of which coming from three of five starters. James Demery, Shavar Newkirk, and Taylor Funk with 19, 19, and 10 respectively. Demery, is ranked 9th in the Atlantic-10 conference in the scoring category.

Saint Joseph's is 2-0 when they score less than 60 points, and when they score between 60 and 69, they are 1-0, which leaves the Red Storm with pressure without Marcus LoVett to contain this high powered Hawks squad on Wednesday.

In his 23rd season at the helm for the Hawks, Phil Martelli, is the leader in wins for his school with a 419-298 record. In that record, the Red Storm have his number, as he has only faced them once in 2013, where he lost that nail-biter in the NIT.

Going into away/neutral site games for the Hawks, they are 2-4 this season, where they have dropped two of their last three. Those two losses came in the Wooden Legacy Tournament in Fullerton, California to Washington State and Harvard, but they did accomplish a victory over Sacramento State in the three day event.

Potential Starters for Saint Joseph's Hawks:

G- Chris Clover

G- Shavar Newkirk

F- James Demery

F- Pierfrancesco Oliva

F- Anthony Longpre

The game can be seen on ESPNU on Wednesday, December 20th at 4:30pm. The contest can also be heard on WSJU with Joey Jarzynka and Michael Slavit on the call LIVE from Mohegan Sun Arena.

Joseph Jarzynka