St. John’s Draws Home Team in Charleston Classic

Photo by: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE

The St. John’s Red Storm, fresh off their season-opening 77-74 victory over Detroit, will be traveling to Charleston, S.C., for the Charleston Classic. The young Red Storm team will face a veteran Charleston Cougar team at TD Bank Arena.

The Red Storm will once again be without newcomers Orlando Sanchez and Marc-Antoine Bourgault as they are still awaiting word from the NCAA regarding their eligibility.

St. John’s will be playing 3 games in the next four days. How will the Red Storm fair?

Game Information
Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Location: TD Bank Arena- Charleston, South Carolina
Time: 5:30 PM EST
TV: ESPN U (Rich Hollenberg and Tim Welsch)
Radio: WBBR 1130 AM (John Minko, Tim O’Toole)

Charleston Cougars (1-0, 0-0)
Head Coach: Doug Wojcik

The College of Charleston has been one of the better kept secrets in NCAA basketball in the Southern Conference. The Cougars have won 64 games over the past three seasons under Bobby Cremins.

Cremins retired after last season and now the Cougars are coached by Dough Wojcik who was at Tulsa the past 7 years. The Cougars have a balanced scoring attack and will look to keep this a slow half court game.

Projected Starting Lineup
F Anthony Thomas
F Trent Wiederman
C Adjehi Baru
G Anthony Lawrence
G Anthony Stitt

St. John’s (1-0, 0-0)
Head Coach: Steve Lavin

The potential was apparent in the first game but there was some cause for concern too. St. John’s will look to refine their defensive focus in this game after allowing Detroit a number of open looks from beyond the arc in the season opener.

Expect St. John’s to come out and dictate the tempo of this game not allowing Charleston to feel comfortable in their own arena. The Red Storm will play a larger rotation insure that everyone keeps fresh legs throughout the tournament.

Projected Starting Lineup
Projected Starting Lineup:
F Amir Garrett
F JaKarr Sampson
C Christian Jones
G D’Angelo Harrison
G Phil Greene

Keys to the Game

  • Force Pressure Early- St. John’s came out timid in its first game. St. John’s only shot four free throws and forced four turnovers in the first half against Detroit. Expect this to be a point of emphasis for Coach Lavin to stress to his team. The Red Storm need will need to force pressure on both ends of the floor early. Getting to the free throw line and forcing turnovers will deflate the home court advantage for Charleston.
  • Feed Off the Ego- Say what you will about D’Angelo Harrison, but his passion is contagious with teammates. Getting him involved early in this game will trickle down to each and every one of his teammates. Run some sets and let Harrison find his.
  • Settle Down Sampson, Rise Up Pointer- St. John’s needs guys to understand what is expected of them in order for this team to be successful. Two guys that struggled the most in the first game were JaKarr Sampson and Sir’Dominic Pointer. Sampson committed a number of “silent turnovers” which means taking bad shots. Sampson needs to pick his spots better and there will be a patient learning curve with this. Pointer on the other hand needs to be more aggressive offensively. It doesn’t necessarily mean taking more shots but he needs to be more of a threat with the basketball instead of looking like he’s playing hot potato when he gets the ball.
  • Rebound to Run- When you rebound the ball defensively, it allows you to run an up-tempo offense. While St. John’s may lack a prototypical front line they have capable rebounders who can lead the fast break at every position. If there is a team effort rebounding the basketball, it will allow St. John’s to utilize their athleticism over an inferior Cougar team.

Final Prediction: St. John’s wins, 72-59