It’s Day 2 of the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, and the Johnnies have advanced to the second round of the winner’s bracket. They will be taking on a team in the Missouri Tigers that is without NBA draft prospect Michael Porter, Jr., for the rest of the season. However, that won’t make Mizzou any less of a tough out.
The Red Storm (5-0) and Tigers (4-1) have faced off only once before since 1948. They matched up in the opening round of the 1972 NIT. St. John’s defeated Missouri in overtime 82-81.
The winner of this game will take on the winner of UCF and West Virginia. The loser will meet the losing team of that match in the Third Place game.
Time & Place: 11:00 AM ET, HP Field House, Orlando, Florida
TV: ESPNews (Mike Morgan, Tim Welsh)
Radio: 970 AM WNYM (John Minko, Brandon Tierney)
Advocare Invitational Bracket: LINK
OddsShark did not have this game posted at the time of writing.
Missouri: The Tigers enter this matchup after throttling Long Beach State 95-58 in the first game of this year’s AdvoCare Invitational. St. John’s will have their work cut out for them to avoid the same fate as the 49ers.
Even without Michael Porter, Jr., Mizzou deploys a deep 10-man rotation. They also like to control the game’s tempo, entering Thursday with the 299th-fastest pace in the nation at an estimated 68.6 possessions per 48 minutes.
Senior guard Kassius Robertson leads the team in scoring at 13.0 points per game. He’s followed up by junior forward Kevin Puryear, who averages 12.2 points per game.
But the X-factor to watch out for is Jontay Porter, Michael’s brother. The freshman big just dropped a season-high 15 points in the win over Long Beach State. He’s averaging 9.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and a team-high 1.8 blocks per game.
Missouri’s defense will be a problem for St. John’s offense, as the Tigers only allow opponents to shoot 38.9 percent from the field. However, Mizzou has struggled from the line early in the season, shooting 68.9 percent from the charity stripe.
St. John’s: The Red Storm maintained their unblemished record with a 82-77 win over Oregon State on Thursday. The duo of Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett continue to lead the charge for St. John’s. Meanwhile, the rest of the eight-man rotation has been able to back them up.
Ponds, despite his inefficiency, is the leading scorer, assister, and one of the top rebounders on the team. He’s averaging 19.4 points, 4.4 assists, and 6.4 rebounds a game. However, he’s shooting a rough 38.4 percent from the field and 19.4 percent from three.
His secret is that he’s getting to the line and making his shots. Ponds has taken a team-high 36 free throws this year and has made 33 of them. That’s a 91.7-percent clip.
LoVett, on the other hand, has gone 50.8 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from three. He’s averaging 15.6 points, 2.6 steals, and 2.2 assists per game.
Overall, however, the Red Storm offense has been shaky. The team is shooting 43.3 percent from the field, just below the national median. Their saving grace will be their defense, which is holding opponents to 36.5 percent shooting.
If they can hold the fort defensively while making some key plays and a few highlights on offense, they will find themselves in the championship game.