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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 15, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: TD Arena ( 5,100) -- Charleston, South Carolina. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: SJU 1-0, CofC 1-0. Away Record: SJU 0-0, CofC 0-0. Neutral Record: SJU 0-0, CofC 0-0. Conference Record: SJU 0-0, CofC 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The St. John's Red Storm will try to take down the hosts as they square off with the College of Charleston Cougars in the first round of the Charleston Classic at TD Arena.
This will be the first meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. The bout is part of the eight-team Charleston Classic in-season tournament. The winner of this matchup advances to play either Murray State or Auburn.
Steve Lavin and the Red Storm did not have the luxury of playing any tune-up games this season as they were 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 to improve to 1-0. 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.
The hosting Cougars also enter with a 1-0 record after downing Towson, 75-58 in their first action of the year. Charleston shot a red-hot 56.3 percent from the floor in coach Doug Wojcik's debut with the program. Wojcik spent the past seven seasons at Tulsa, where he became the winningest head coach in Golden Hurricane history. Wojcik has plenty to work with this season as he inherited a Charleston team that finished 19-12 last season.
Lavin was upset with the attitude of 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. The shooting guard clearly has a natural ability to produce points as he finished his rookie season with a 17 ppg average. Phil Greene also had a solid performance in the season opener as he finished with 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists in 40 minutes of action. SJU has a pair of adept forwards in freshman Chris Obekpa and Amir Garrett. 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.
The Cougars will be led on the floor by Andrew Lawrence, who represented the Great Britain National Team in this past summer's London Olympic Games. The senior point guard submitted a well-rounded performance with 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the win over the Tigers on Friday.. Aggressive off-guard Anthony Stitt plays well alongside Lawrence in the backcourt. The three-point launching sophomore averaged 9.7 ppg as a rookie and netted 12 points in his last outing. Juco transfer Anthony Thomas made his debut as Charleston's starting small forward with 12 points and six boards while power forward Trent Weideman paced the team with 17 points. Adjehi Baru provides size and rebounding for Charleston.
Although they have an Olympian on their roster and the home crowd on their side, the Cougars are going to have trouble with their Big East foe. Charleston does however have depth and experience on its side. If Harrison continues to play with a chip on his shoulder, SJU could be one of the biggest surprises in college basketball this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. John's 74, College of Charleston 70
11/15 10:34:12 ET
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