With the schedule now flipping over into December, St. John’s have found themselves in a quagmire. The month of November started off in fine fashion with the Red Storm winning their first two games against Bethune-Cookman and Binghamton. Everything seemed to click well early on with just a few nagging marks. Even their first loss of the season against Minnesota, was a stellar game for the most part from St. John’s young crop of players, especially the early guard play. After the loss to Minnesota, things went upside down for Chris Mullin and St. John’s as the losses mounted from their trip to the Bahamas and in their recent game against Delaware State in which the Hornets were able to pull off the upset over the Red Storm.
While this team has the talent to put up a fight, this recent loss against Delaware State has left them caught in the lurch with a now-five game losing streak. The hope now is to iron out the kinks in these next two games on the schedule and get back to improving on the potential within. First up in this stretch is a trip to New Orleans to play a struggling Tulane in a meeting of colorful nature as Red Storm takes on Green Wave. It can hopefully only go up from here for St. John’s
How to Watch, Listen, or Stream
Game Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPNews (Alex Faust and Stephen Howard)
Radio: 970 WNYM (St. John’s), Tulane IMG Sports Net (Tulane)
Stream: WatchESPN (Where Available)
Odds: St. John’s open up as 4-point favorites via Oddshark
Record ATS: St. John’s (4-3), Tulane (2-3)
O/U: The O/U for this game opened up at 146.5.
This will be the fourth time that St. John’s and Tulane will be meeting each other on the hardwood. Overall, Tulane holds a 2-1 lead. The most recent game between the Red Storm and the Green Wave took place during the 2014-15 season, the final year of the Steve Lavin era for St. John’s. The Red Storm won that game by a score of 82 to 57. At the time of that game, St. John’s were ranked 17th in the nation riding a 11-1 record, while Tulane entered the game with a 9-3 record. Times have changed as St. John’s is coming into Friday’s game with a 2-5 record and Tulane with a 1-6 record. Only one player from that game for St. John’s is still on the current roster. That is Amar Alibegovic who played six minutes and made one three pointer.
Three Things to Know for this Game
One Losing Streak is Going to Snap: Both St. John’s and Tulane are coming into this game with the hopes of snapping their early season losing streaks. The Red Storm, as already mentioned, are riding a five-game losing streak into this game. Their last win came against Binghamton during the first week of the season. Since then the team has been caught in a lurch. Tulane is 1-6 on the season and riding a five-game losing streak, as well. Their last win came during the first week of the season against Southeastern Louisiana.
Struggling with Change: On defense, St. John’s front court has been alright so far. Yankuba Sima, Tariq Owens, and Kassoum Yakwe have shown flashes of brilliance at times. Though it is not the end all be all defense to block shots, the front three have been averaging at least six blocked shots a game this season. However, while this might be good news, they have struggled tremendously in transition. Both Yakwe and Sima are struggling with playing off of Marcus LoVett in transition, as neither has shown an effective ability of attacking mid-post. The inability for the frontcourt to produce effectively has led to the guards to shoulder the heavy offensive burden.
On Guard: While St. John’s aforementioned front court issues are an ongoing issue for Chris Mullin, the guard play has been the wind beneath the wings for St. John’s. So far, the guard play has been active and effective with 60 percent of the offense coming from a trio of Marcus LoVett (18.9 ppg), Shamorie Ponds (15.3 ppg), and Bashir Ahmed (11.6 ppg). All three show signs of trusting each and themselves with the ball on offense, though in the case of Ponds and LoVett, both still need to look for opportunities to pass the ball instead of going for the shot right away. This has been an issue in recent games for the Red Storm. Either way it they will be the lynchpin in this game for St. John’s.