FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (19,033) -- New York, New York.
Television: MSG2/MSG+. Home Record: Fordham 0-1, St. John's 5-0. Away Record:
Fordham 0-4, St. John's 1-1. Neutral Record: Fordham 1-2, St. John's 0-2.
Conference Record: Fordham 0-0, St. John's 0-0. Series Record: St. John's
GAME NOTES: The Fordham Rams step into Madison Square Garden on Saturday to
take on the St. John's Red Storm in non-conference action.
Fordham is off to a rough start with only one win in eight tries this season.
That win came in a two-point decision over Penn in the consolation round of
the Preseason NIT last month. The Rams have since dropped four in a row,
including Tuesday's 81-63 drubbing at the hands of Lehigh.
St. John's was also on the wrong end of a blowout Tuesday night, falling on
the road to San Francisco in an 81-65 final. That loss snapped a four-game
winning streak for the Red Storm. Following this matchup, they'll have a week
off before facing St. Francis-NY in the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival.
St. John's has won four of the last five meetings with the Rams to take a
62-21 series lead.
Against Lehigh earlier this week, Fordham fell behind by 20 points at halftime
and was never able to recover. The Rams shot just 38.5 percent from the floor
in that decisive first half, while Lehigh shot at a 53-percent clip. Bryan
Smith paced Fordham with a team-high 17 points off the bench to go along with
seven rebounds, while Ryan Canty tallied 14 points and nine boards in the
loss. Leading scorer Branden Frazier (15.6 ppg) made only 3-of-13 field goals
and finished with nine points. The Rams' struggles even extended to the free-
throw line where they shot just 7-of-15, compared to a 17-of-19 effort by
Lehigh. One of the only positives to emerge for the Rams was their 42-27
rebounding advantage, which came after the team was outrebounded in its
previous two outings. The Rams have sorely missed the presence of starting
senior forward Chris Gaston, who was averaging 11.3 points and a team-best 8.7
rebounds through three games before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. The
procedure is expected to keep him out of action for at least a month.
On paper, Fordham simply does not have the offensive firepower to match up
with a St. John's team that is shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and
putting up 71.2 ppg. D'Angelo Harrison entered the weekend as the second-
leading scorer in the Big East, averaging 20.9 ppg. Harrison has shot 36
percent from the perimeter (21-of-59) and 85 percent from the foul line (39-
of-46) while also averaging nearly two steals per contest. JaKarr Sampson
(13.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Phil Greene IV (11.3 ppg) are also averaging double
figures on the season. Sampson, a freshman, poured in a career-best 22 points
against San Francisco, but St. John's shot just 39.7 percent as a team and
wound up losing by 16 points. Trailing 59-56 with 7:41 to play, St. John's
watched the Dons close out the contest on a 22-9 run. Harrison added 14 points
in the loss.
The Red Storm hung tight for 32 minutes against San Fran but were unable to
finish. This time around, look for the Red Storm to learn their lesson and
keep the intensity up for 40 minutes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. John's 79, Fordham 68