St. John’s is coming off a good road win at DePaul and has strung together two consecutive victories in the Big East and will look to extend it in a rematch of their meeting January 9th at the Garden. Rutgers won the closely contested matchup 58-56 when JaKarr Sampson missed a game winning three pointer at the buzzer.
“We are excited for a second chance.” said D’Angelo Harrison. “They are one of our rivals and all the guys on this team are looking forward to playing them again. It’s going to be a tough game, but we’re going to be up for the challenge.”
Since they last met, Rutgers is coming off a loss at Notre Dame, vs Cincinnati and a win vs South Florida. Meanwhile, the Red Storm beat Notre Dame and home and won the aforementioned game at DePaul. The Red Storm is looking to split the season series with the Scarlet Knights and get above .500 in conference play.
Date: Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
Location: Louis Brown Athletic Center- Piscataway, New Jersey
Time: 7:30 PM EST TV: SNY (Scott Graham, John Celestand)
Radio: WBBR 1130 AM (John Minko, Brandon Tierney)
After pulling out a close game against the Red Storm at the World’s Most Famous Arena, Mike Rice and Rutgers are trying to pack the RAC and win the season series against the Storm. Rutgers lost a nail biter at Notre Dame where a comeback fell short. Eli Carter went 9-15 from the field and scored 20 points for the Knights.
It was a mostly efficient game for Rutgers against the Irish and a couple weeks ago against the Storm was the same thing but the only difference was it was a hard fought win instead of a loss. In that game, Carter did not shoot as well, going 3-14 from the field with only eight points. Dane Miller had 11 points and six rebounds against St. John’s and lead the way.
Projected Starting Lineup:
F Wally Judge
G Jerome Seagears
G Dane Miller
G Myles Mack
G Eli Carter
The Red Storm are looking to build some momentum in conference and can take a big leap in doing so by winning on the road against the Scarlet Knights. The young Johnnies squad has put together a couple of good games lately and have a small two game win streak. Behind the improved play of sophomore forward Sir’Dominic Pointer the Red Storm are more efficient on offense and defense.
Pointer racked up 14 points and 11 rebounds in 38 minutes against DePaul, while scoring eight points in 13 minutes against Notre Dame because of foul trouble. Sophomore Jamal Branch had his breakout game on Saturday against DePaul when he scored 18 points on 9-14 shooting while dishing out three assists in 38 minutes. Branch was a little rusty when he suited up for the first time on December 21st against UNC Asheville. Branch has showed signs of greatness and will be key for a Red Storm victory.
Projected Starting Lineup:
F JaKarr Sampson
F Sir’Dominic Pointer
G Jamal Branch
G Phil Greene
G D’Angelo Harrison
Keys to Victory
- No Deficiencies in Rebounding or Free Throw Shooting-The Red Storm have had two main problems this season, rebounding and free throws. In their last matchup St. John’s out rebounded the Scarlet Knights but left 12 points off the board on missed three throws. Red Storm can’t afford to have a repeat. It’s an ongoing problem as the team shot 13-20 against DePaul. This could be the deciding factor in the game.
- Super Sampson- JaKarr Sampson has won another Big East Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season. Sampson averaged 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds to help the Red Storm to a 2-0 week. He got plenty of looks in the last matchup against Rutgers leading the team in shot attempts but didn’t attempt a free throw. He’s going to need to fix that to fair well against Scarlet Knights front line once again.
- Get D’Angelo Harrison Cooking– Sophomore guard D’Angelo Harrison has had some off shooting nights the past few games but that hash’t deterred him from winning games. After shooting 4-12 against DePaul, Harrison went 7-9 from the free throw line to win the game. Even through some stretches Harrison hasn’t been scoring the ball, he is still one of the most important people on the floor for the Red Storm.
- Go Go Garrett- While a lot of focus might be put on Obekpa to contain the front line of Judge, Johnson, and Jack for Rutgers it will be the play of Garrett who will determine if St. John’s can dominate the paint. The shorter, leaner Garrett will have his hands full defending and rebounding the ball but he needs to insert himself offensively. He is the most efficient offensive rebounder on the team and his quickness could pose as a match up problem for the Scarlet Knights.
Final Prediction: St. John’s Wins, 60-59