By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Arena (5,100) -- Charleston, South Carolina.
Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Baylor 2-0, St. John's 1-0. Away Record:
Baylor 0-0, St. John's 1-0. Neutral Record: Baylor 1-1, St. John's 0-1.
Conference Record: Baylor 0-0, St. John's 0-0. Series Record: St. John's
GAME NOTES: The St. John's Red Storm will try to take down their first ranked
opponent of the season when they tangle with the No. 16 Baylor Bears in the
third place game of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena.
Baylor is still a viable contender to win the Big 12 this season despite
losing three players to the NBA ranks. The Bears looked like they were on
track for another long winning streak to start the season, as they notched
three straight wins over Lehigh (99-77), Jackson State (78-47), and Boston
College (84-74). Coach Scott Drew's team ran into a familiar Colorado opponent
in the second round of the Charleston Classic and the Buffaloes avenged their
NCAA Tournament loss to the Bears by defeating them by two points on Friday.
St. John's has not had an easy game to this point. Steve Lavin's squad was
matched up with the defending Horizon League Tournament champion Detroit
Titans in their opener. St. John's managed to hang on for a 77-74 win over Ray
McCallum and the Titans before downing the College of Charleston by 11 points
in the opening round of the tournament. Despite a stellar 27-point performance
from D'Angelo Harrison, the Red Storm could not overcome Steve Prohm's Murray
State Racers in the second round.
St. John's owns a 1-0 series advantage over the Bears from an 83-82 victory in
Queens on Dec. 7, 1978.
Although he was often overshadowed by Quincy Acy and Perry Jones III last
season, Pierre Jackson was the motor of Baylor's highly successful 2011-2012
team. The lightning quick point guard is not going to fly under anyone's radar
this season with averages of 20.5 points, 6.8 assists, and 2.5 steals per
contest. Jackson is surrounded by talent once again. Baylor swept the Big 12's
first edition of weekly honors as Cory Jefferson earned the Player of the Week
award and Isaiah Austin was deemed the Rookie of the Week. Jefferson was a key
reserve on last season's team, but he has evolved into much more than a role
player. The junior forward is averaging 15 points and 7.7 boards per game
through three contests. Austin is one of the top freshman centers in the
nation. He is already adapting to the collegiate game with steady healthy
averages of 15.3 points and 7.7 boards per game. The freshman big man had a
chance to tie the game versus Colorado in the closing seconds, but his first
buzzer beater fell short. It will be interesting to see how the big rookie
Harrison has been tremendous so far for St. John's with averages of 23.3
points, six rebounds, and 2.7 steals per game. His scoring outburst to start
the season should be no surprise as he posted 17 ppg as a rookie. Phil Greene
IV is second on the team with 11.3 ppg and is also producing a team-best 4.3
assists per game. Greene IV will have his hands full with Jackson just two
days after he was asked to shut down Murray State's Isaiah Canaan. Sophomore
forward Amir Garrett had scored in double figures in the team's first two
games before a quiet 1-of-2 shooting performance versus the Racers his last
Baylor ran into a team out for revenge its last time out. While the Red Storm
are certainly going to be hungry for a win after suffering their first setback
of the year as well, the Bears are a dangerous team when they play with a
sense of urgency.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 80, St. Johns 71
11/18 10:43:35 ET
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