St. John’s returns to the friendly confines of Carnesecca Arena to host Incarnate Word. Coming off a stunning win against Syracuse at Madison Square Garden, the Red Storm have had a few days to recover and get healthy. Malik Ellison is expected to return to action after missing a month due to an ankle injury. There is still no update on Marcus LoVett’s eligibility status.
The Red Storm will face an inferior but pesky Incarnate Word team. With three games in five days this has trap game written all over it. Can St. John’s pass the test?
Date: Friday, December 18, 2015
Location: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, NY
Time: 7:00 PM EST
TV: FS1 or FoxSportsGo App
Radio: 970AM or TuneIn App
Yankuba Sima vs little guys
You’d think big guys would be able to dominate when they face smaller guys but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s more comforting to them to bang up against a body of equal size and height. Additionally Incarnate Word’s “bigs” are all step out shooters. Will Sima’s shot blocking presence be limited if he’s guarding guys around the perimeter? Will be interesting to see if he logs over 20 minutes tonight.
Keys to Victory
- Don’t play on cruise control- If St. John’s gets a lead never be comfy with it. We’ve seen St. John’s put it in cruise against Chaminade and Niagara earlier this season. While those games were never really in doubt, St. John’s kept the upset door cracked open. Sooner or later that will cost you a game you should win. Incarnate Word has faced a few ranked teams this season so they aren’t going to come out intimated.
- Don’t settle for outside shots- We’ve seen the shooting displays from three a few times this season but the Red Storm can’t live or die with it. They need to get into the lane and to the rim early and often tonight which will open up plenty of outside looks.
- Be quick but don’t hurry- A line from John Wooden applies really well for St. John’s tonight. There is no doubt that Incarnate Word will try to compensate for their lack of size with speed. Meaning when the ball goes into the post to Sima, Jones, etc. will see double teams. The bigs have to know this and make quick and smart decisions. Can’t let Incarnate Word force turnovers.
- Make them work for every shot- Incarnate Word is gonna look to shoot early and often but can’t let them chuck easy shots from the perimeter. Make them uncomfortable on every shot and just wear them down. St. John’s will have a few more healthy bodies so there are no excuses for tiring out.