St. John’s is making national headlines after defeating their old Big East rival Syracuse. This will go down as a signature win in Chris Mullin’s first year at the helm. Recruits take notice of these things.
After St. John’s struggled to score 48 points against Niagara, no one thought St. John’s would beat Syracuse on Sunday. The Red Storm played inspired basketball on their home floor Madison Square Garden. The catalyst was Amar Alibegovic who came off the bench to score 15 points and 9 rebounds. On a team that lacks a lot of experience, Amar credited his from last year saying,
“I met some of these guys last year and I recognized how some guys play, like [Trevor] Cooney, who was someone we focused a lot on last year. I just started from the defensive end and tried to do the basic things the coaches told me to do. The zone gave me an opportunity for offensive rebounds and to shoot the ball, which is one of my strengths, and I was able to knock them down.”
Alibegovic was unconscious knocking down 5 of 6 shots including 3 from deep. Phil Greene took notice of his former teammate’s performance.
— Phil Greene IV (@philgreene31) December 13, 2015
- St. John’s was prepared for the 2-3 zone and game plan was on point. Really a huge credit to Mullin coming out with the double high post.
- The team never rattled and stuck to their game plan.
- The bench was fantastic. St. John’s bench outscored Cuse 30-14
- Amar flying through the lane like Sir’Dom on the putback.
- Durand Johnson being shot ready and knocking down shots.
- Amar’s Eurostep in transition had guys believing.
- A concentrated effort rebounding the basketball. The team boasted a +15 margin.
- Federico Mussini did a fantastic job moving into open space and shot lights out in the first half from D’Angelo Harrison deep.
- Kassoum Yakwe playing with great energy off the bench. He quickly got 15 points and attacked the zone fearlessly.
- Yankuba Sima’s touch around the basket is so good. Always feel good seeing him hook shot.
- The poetic press break when the ball never touched the floor completely made Hopkins abandon it. This was good because we know that’s been an achilles heel.
- The spacing, movement without the ball, and decision making was all clicking offensively. This is big for coaching staff to get players and recruits to buy in.
- The amount of recruits at the game who witnessed this game. Couldn’t have planned it better.
- The crowd was loud and energetic. Red dominated orange.
- The weather for December was pretty awesome.
- St. John’s never letting their foot off the gas pedal in the 2nd half. Never played not to lose.
- Amar doing jumping jacks when he was open and then drilling the shot.
- Followed that up with a unimaginable three and gave the crowd a Michael Jordan shrug. Awesome!
- Mussini pump, 1 dribble, three to get the lead back to double digits. Helped me breathe easier.
- Sima and Yakwe protecting the rim all day. No bigger block than Yakwe with a minute left meeting Roberson at the rim.
- Malik Ellison and Darien Williams cheering at the end of the bench and being first guys to greet guys during dead balls.
- Mussini’s post game interview saying this was the best game he’s ever played in. NYC magic!
- Getting this win a day after my Grandfather passed away. It was uplifting for me, my family, and something I’ll never forget.
- Another game without Malik Ellison, Darien Williams, and Marcus LoVett.
- Felix Balamou suffered another injury and he couldn’t return to action.
- The referees calling off Yakwe’s man dunk.
- Sima getting into foul trouble.
- Amar leaving his feet on every pump fake.
- Christian Jones turnovers late in the 2nd half.
- Members of media discrediting Syracuse instead of crediting St. John’s.
- Fox failing to have replays of the game like ESPN.
Beating Cuse for the 2nd straight year is awesome. It’s too bad they’re not in the Big East still because I miss this being a conference rivalry. Chris Mullin has his players prepared for this game and it showed. This team has so much potential but the battle is going to be consistency. Need to play like this against Incarnate Word and not like they did against St. Francis or Niagara.
Shamorie Ponds is making highlight plays nightly like he’s Steph Curry. The latest is him hitting this 3 quarters court shot at the buzzer.
90th Meeting between Storied College Basketball Programs Tips at Noon on FS1
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QUEENS, N.Y. (Dec.11, 2015) – There will be a palpable buzz inside Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon when St. John’s hosts long-time rival Syracuse for the 90th meeting between the storied college basketball programs. The nationally televised contest on FS1 tips off at noon.
FOX Sports lead college basketball announcing team of Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery will call the action from “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” The broadcast can also be seen through the FOX Sports Go app. St. John’s radio broadcast with John Minko and Vin Parise will air on 570 AM WMCA, SiriusXM Radio channel 84 and through the TuneIn Radio app.
Winners of two-straight, and three of the last four, St. John’s (6-3) enters the highly-anticipated matchup looking to collect its second-consecutive win over the Orange for the first time since 1993. However, the Red Storm roster underwent a complete transformation from last year’s group that snapped the Orange’s 55-game non-conference home win streak at the Carrier Dome.
This year’s squad features a blend of nine newcomers, including five freshmen, who will be competing against Syracuse for the first time in their careers, and for many it is just their second game playing on St. John’s home court in Midtown Manhattan. Christian Jones (Arlington, Texas), Felix Balamou (Conakry, Guinea) and Amar Alibegovic (Rome, Italy) are the only returnees from St. John’s 2015 NCAA Tournament squad, while Alibegovic is the only member of the current roster who saw action in the 69-57 victory on Dec. 6, 2014 over the Orange.
Despite the lack of experience, St. John’s has reason to be optimistic as it enters Sunday’s contest with a perfect 5-0 home record this season, including a 63-56 victory over St. Francis Brooklyn in the team’s Garden debut last week. Freshman Yankuba Sima (Girona, Spain) delivered a spectacular performance with his first-career double-double, recording 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting and 10 rebounds to go with five blocks. Sima, a 6-foot-11 center, leads the BIG EAST and ranks second in the nation with 33 blocks.
Graduate student Durand Johnson (Baltimore, Md.), the only newcomer who had previous collegiate experience at the Garden from his time at Pitt, also quickly found his comfort zone playing under the bright lights of MSG. The 6-foot-6 wing erupted for a career-high 19 points, which included his clutch jumper that just beat the shot clock with 32 seconds remaining to put the Terriers away.
While St. John’s youthful squad will be introduced to the rich tradition of the St. John’s – Syracuse rivalry that spans over 100 years, for head coach Chris Mullin, the Orange are a familiar foe. As a player, Mullin’s St. John’s teams produced a 6-2 record against Syracuse over his four year career from 1981-85, and on Jan. 23, 1985 he became the first in program history to eclipse 2,000 career points doing so against the Orange at MSG. Now patrolling the sidelines, Mullin will guide the Red Storm with first-hand knowledge of attacking Syracuse’s infamous 2-3 zone to put his team in position to pick up its third-straight win.
St. John’s will need an all hands on deck effort against a veteran-laden Syracuse roster. Jones has been one of the Red Storm’s top performers, as of late, averaging a team-high 12.8 points and 8.0 rebounds in the past four games. Freshman Federico Mussini (Reggio Emilia, Italy) continues to impress as he is coming off his seventh double-digit scoring performance in nine games this season. The 6-foot-1 guard is the 12th leading scorer in the BIG EAST and has led the Red Storm in scoring seven times.
Syracuse (7-2) is receiving votes in the Top 25 polls, breaking into the national rankings on Dec.1 after taking home the Battle 4 Atlantis title. The Orange knocked off ranked opponents Connecticut and Texas A&M to take the crown of one of the premier regular-season tournaments. Syracuse is coming off a 78-51 victory over Colgate on Tuesday at the Carrier Dome.
Senior guard Michael Gbinije leads Syracuse in scoring (19.7 ppg), assists (4.6 apg) and steals (2.9 spg). He is joined in the backcourt by red shirt senior Trevor Cooney, who is second in scoring averaging 14.3 points per game.
About the Series with Syracuse
- St. John’s is 38-51 all-time against Syracuse in a series that dates back to 1912.
- Syracuse is St. John’s sixth most frequently played opponent with 89 all-time meetings.
- The former conference rivals will meet for the 34th time outside of BIG EAST play.
It wasn’t pretty but a win is a win, right? At least that is what you want to take away from a game like this. The Red Storm were once again plagued by turnovers committing 18 against an anemic Niagara defense. A lot of self inflicted wounds (offensive fouls, bad passes, careless dribbling) helped prevent St. John’s from scoring 50 points.
- St. John’s won.
- Yakwe was halfway to a triple double. 5 points, 5 rebounds, 5 blocks
- The student turnout was great. A lot of student groups were there for a promotion but wise of the school to run it for a game scheduled on a Wednesday at 5:00pm.
- Mussini led the team in scoring and finally found a barbershop.
- The team committed a ton of turnovers.
- Sima failed to log 20 min of play.
- The team had no ball handler any time Mussini sat.
- Shot 33%
- Carnessecca Arena made fans sweat. How is there no A/C?
The team didn’t play with fire needed to compete against better teams. However with a young team you’re happy to win these type of ugly games instead of losing them. Chris Mullin continues to mix it up with his fashion. He wore a red polo because he didn’t own any other red shirts and wanted to participate in the “Red Out”.