St. John's (13-17) at Rutgers (13-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 3, 8:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rutgers Athletic Center (8,000) -- New Brunswick, New Jersey. Television: MSG. Home Record: St. John's 11-6, Rutgers 10-7. Away Record: St. John's 2-9, Rutgers 2-8. Neutral Record: St. John's 0-2, Rutgers 1-2. Conference Record: St. John's 6-11, Rutgers 5-12. Series Record: St. John's leads, 25-12.
GAME NOTES: Local rivals close out the regular season tonight in the Garden State, when the St. John's Red Storm travel to the Rutgers Athletic Center for a Big East Bout with the Scarlet Knights.
St. John's saw a three-game win streak come to a close on Wednesday night, when the squad found itself on the losing end of an 89-69 rout at the hands of Pittsburgh. The loss left the Red Storm with a 13-17 overall tally on their 2011-12 ledger, and dropped the club to just 6-11 in league play.
As for Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights have lost two of their last three contests, and come into tonight's meeting with a likewise 13-17 overall record. The squad dropped a 77-71 verdict against Villanova on Thursday night, leaving them with a meager 5-12 Big East tally.
St. John's leads, 25-12, in a series that dates back to 1974.
D'Angelo Harrison broke the St. John's freshman scoring record with his 12th- career 20-point performance and the Red Storm shot at a solid 50.0 percent clip, but Pittsburgh countered with a 63.3 percent effort from the field to defeat the Red Storm by 20. Harrison scored 21 points to pace St. Johns, which trailed by just 38-33 heading into the halftime break. Pittsburgh ran away with the contest over the final 20 minutes, however, thanks to a 68.0 percent effort from the field coupled by a 12-for-15 performance at the foul line. Phil Greene added 18 points and passed out seven assists in the losing effort, while God'sgift Achiuwa finished with 17 points from off the bench. The Red Storm owns a respectable 67.1 points per game tally, but the squad has not held up the bargain at the other end of the court, where the opposition shoots at a 44.2 percent clip that yields 71.1 ppg. The Red Storm trail their opponents by a 37.8 - 33.9 difference on the boards, but have forced a whopping 437 turnovers through 30 contests. The team owns a modest 42.5 percent field goal mark, and currently sports a pair of players with a double- digit scoring average. Harrison leads the way with 17.2 ppg, while Harkless checks in with 15.5 points to go with a team-leading 8.5 rebounds per contest.
Rutgers allowed Villanova to shoot at a scorching 68.2 percent clip during the opening frame on Thursday night, falling behind by a 48-32 margin heading into the break. The Scarlet Knights chipped away during the second stanza, and actually outscored the Wildcats, who were stifled to the tune of 27.3 percent from the floor. However, the Wildcats added a 15-for-21 effort at the foul line over the 20 minutes to stave the Scarlet Knights late rally and escape with a six-point verdict. Dane Miller scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to pace the squad, while Myles Mack tallied 15 points. Eli Carter logged 14 points for the Scarlet Knights, and Jerome Seagears finished with 11 points while passing out seven assists. Rutgers has found itself in its share of close games this season, as the 66.2 ppg mark it owns compared to the 65.9 ppg allowed to opponents will attest. Still, the Scarlet Knights are hitting a somewhat respectable 43.0 percent of their attempts from the field as a team up to this point, and do own a solid 70.0 percent mark at the charity stripe. The Scarlet Knights have also forced 473 turnovers on the year, and have a slight 34.4 - 33.4 rebounding edge over their adversaries. Carter, with his 13.4 ppg average, currently leads Rutgers in scoring, and he is joined in double figures only by Gilvydas Biruta (10.0 ppg). Biruta also leads Rutgers on the boards (5.4 rpg), and Mack rests right on the cusp of a double-digit average with a solid 9.9 ppg.
Rutgers gets the nod here, especially at home. The Scarlet Knights do not play nearly as loose at the defensive end of the court as does St. John's, and that will ultimately make the difference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rutgers 71, St. John's 63
03/03 10:44:03 ET