St. John's (2-0) vs. Murray State (2-0)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 5:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Arena (5,100) -- Charleston, South Carolina.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: SJU 1-0, MSU 1-0. Away Record: SJU 1-0,
MSU 0-0. Neutral Record: SJU 0-0, MSU 1-0. Conference Record: SJU 0-0, MSU
0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Murray State Racers and St. John's Red Storm put their perfect
2-0 records on the line when they meet in the second round of the Charleston
Classic on Friday evening.
The winner of this contest will advance to the tournament final to play the
winner of the Baylor/Colorado showdown.
St. John's squared off with the tournament's host and defeated the College of
Charleston to improve to 2-0 on the young season. The Red Storm showed off
superior ball-handling skills with only six turnovers in the contest. St.
John's managed to hang on for a 77-74 win over Ray McCallum and the Detroit
Titans in the 2012-13 season opener. SJU coach Steve Lavin missed a lot of
last season as he recovered from prostate cancer. He returned to guide one of
the youngest teams in college basketball, which clearly has a huge upside.
The Racers stayed perfect through two games by completing a 79-59 rout of
Auburn in their first-round affair. Murray State drained 52.9 percent of its
field goal attempts and limited Auburn to 33.3 percent. Murray State took a
commanding 45-19 lead into halftime and never looked back. Steve Prohm is
hopeful to repeat the success he found in his first season as a head coach
when he guided MSU to a 31-2 overall record, the best start in school history,
and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Isaiah Canaan led the team through an in-
season tourney last year by scoring 36 points in the championship game of the
Great Alaska Shootout to propel the Racers past Southern Miss.
Lavin had well-documented issues with his star sophomore D'Angelo Harrison so
much in the preseason that he did not play Harrison in the team's exhibition
game and decided not to start him in the opener. Harrison heard the message
loud and clear and responded by scoring a game-high 22 points, 13 of which
were delivered in the final 8:24 to help SJU get past Detroit. The shooting
guard clearly has natural ability and managed to score a game-high 21 points
in Thursday's victory over the Cougars. Phil Greene IV has been solid as well
early on, posting totals of 31 points and 10 assists in 78 minutes of combined
action. SJU has a pair of solid forwards in Chris Obekpa and Amir Garrett. In
the season opener versus Detroit, Obekpa broke the school-record with eight
blocks in his collegiate debut, while Garrett posted his first career double-
double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Despite playing in the unheralded Ohio Valley Conference program, Canaan has
managed to make his name known in the college basketball world. The shifty
guard handles the ball, passes it, and scores at will. Canaan netted a team-
best 26 points in the recent win over Auburn. Senior forward Stacy Wilson
tallied a team-high 21 points on 50 percent shooting from the field in the
season opener before contributing 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor
versus the Tigers. Ed Daniel has provided 23 points, 13 rebounds and two
blocks in two games at the forward position. Freshman guard C.J. Ford could
see significant time alongside Canaan to give opposing defenses a different
look. UAB transfer Dexter Fields joined the program after netting 7.1 ppg for
the Blazers in 2010-11. He has made only three of his 12 field goal attempts
in MSUs first two games, but the high-energy guard has made plenty of plays as
While the Red Storm are playing at a very high level, Murray State is going to
be very difficult to take down. The lack of depth on SJU's bench will be
difficult to overcome for the Red Storm. Slowing down the Racers is going to
be nearly impossible with Canaan engineering the offense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 75, St John's 69
11/16 11:17:39 ET