Monmouth (1-2) at St. John's (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carnesecca Arena (5,602) -- Queens, New York. Television: FSI. Home Record: Monmouth 0-2, St. John's 2-0. Away Record: Monmouth 0-2, St. John's 0-0. Neutral Record: Monmouth 0-0, St. John's 0-1. Conference Record: Monmouth 0-0, St. John's 0-0. Series Record: St. John's leads, 2-0.
GAMES NOTES: As part of the Barclays Center Classic the St. John's Red Storm will play host to the Monmouth Hawks in a non-conference battle at Carnesecca Arena on Friday.
Since their season opening win over Hofstra (88-84), the Hawks have not been able to get back into the win column. An 82-66 disappointment against Seton Hall on Monday was the second straight loss for Monmouth, which has a 1-2 record through its first three games. In the next leg of the Classic the Hawks will be on the road, this time against Penn State.
The Red Storm have been on the opposite side of the coin in comparison, with wins in back-to-back games after a loss in the season opener. The Red Storm, which was dropped by Wisconsin in a neutral site meeting to begin the year, has since topped Wagner (73-57) and Bucknell (67-63) at home. St. John's will be the host yet again on Tuesday against Longwood as it continues in the event.
St. John's earned an 85-60 victory over the Hawks in 1990 and a 98-58 triumph in 1985. Those are the only two previous meetings between the two programs.
Monmouth did not have enough production from its frontcourt in the loss to Seton Hall. The Hawks were on the short end of a 37-28 margin on the boards and were outscored 38-22 in the paint. The Hawks also did themselves no favor in transition defense as they allowed 21 points off turnovers.
Through three games the Hawks are allowing teams to score at a less than ideal rate (81.7 ppg) while being lit up for 46.2 percent shooting from the field. Although the Hawks have managed to score 75.7 points per game they are shooting below 40 percent from the floor as a team. Deon Jones (21 ppg, 8 rpg) has been a do-it-all guard for the Hawks with his scoring and rebounding efforts both the tops for the team. Jones shouldered a large portion of the offensive load yet again against Seton Hall when he scored 24 points. Andrew Nicholas (14.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg) has been adequate as the second option, but by shooting at 32.6 percent from the field, he has not been as reliable. Josh James (10.3 ppg) has scored well as a reserve, and by netting 50 percent of his shots, may be pushing for more playing time.
The Red Storm got it done on the defensive end to take down Bucknell. St. John's had 13 blocked shots in the game, including seven from Chris Obekpa, and also outscored the Bison, 14-6, in points off turnovers. The second half was when the Red Storm were most dominant, holding Bucknell to just 39.3 percent shooting in the period.
Strong defense is a must for St. John's, which has not been a particularly exciting or productive offensive unit. The Red Storm are scoring 71.7 points per game, while netting less than 45 percent of their shots from the field. D'Angelo Harrison (21.3 ppg) has the scoring potency to keep the Red Storm rolling on offense, though he is not as efficient as he could be. That was evident against Bucknell as Harrison scored 12 points on 3-of-13 shooting. JaKarr Sampson (15.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is a skill player in the frontcourt and he showed off his defensive acumen against Bucknell with four blocked shots. Orlando Sanchez (6.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg) and Obekpa (4.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.0 bpg) also excel at protecting the rim.
Against the punishing interior defense of the Red Storm the Hawks may be forced to rely on shooting from the outside. That is not an area of strength, which will result in a favorable outcome for St. John's.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. John's 70, Monmouth 59
11/22 10:35:57 ET