St. John's Opens 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis Versus Michigan State

Kassoum Yakwe led the BIG EAST in blocks last year with 2.5 rejections per outing
July 13, 2016

2016 Battle 4 Atlantis Bracket

QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's was paired with Michigan State for its opening round game at the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis as announced Wednesday by ESPN. The Red Storm will face the Spartans for the third time in program history on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. ET on AXS TV to kick off the three-day event in the Bahamas held inside the 3,900-seat Imperial Arena.

St. John's and Michigan State have met two times in the history of the storied programs, with the last matchup coming at Alumni Hall in December of 1979 when the Johnnies emerged with an 88-73 victory in the championship game of that year's Lapchick Tournament. The other contest between the two college basketball powerhouses came in the opening game of the 1968 Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden, as St. John's downed the Spartans, 61-51, a day before beating No. 2 North Carolina in the semifinals.

The Battle 4 Atlantis, one of the premier regular season tournaments, takes place on Paradise Island at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas, an iconic resort known worldwide as a leading destination in the Caribbean.

The 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis field has combined for 169 NCAA Tournament appearances. St. John's (28 NCAA appearances, T-24th) is one of three teams that ranks in the top-25 in Division I, joining Louisville (41, 5th) and Michigan State (30, T-16th). LSU (21 appearances), VCU (15), Wichita State (13), Old Dominion (11) and Baylor (10) round out the field.

2016 Battle 4 Atlantis room and ticket packages are on sale now at

Heading into its second season under Head Coach Chris Mullin, the Red Storm returns a slew of young talent as the Johnnies look to make a move forward in the loaded BIG EAST Conference. The Red Storm welcomes back its second-leading scorer from last season in rising sophomore guard Federico Mussini, an Italian sharpshooter that nailed a team-high 56 three-pointers and led the BIG EAST in free-throw percentage with an 86.2 percent conversion rate.



In addition to Mussini and classmate Malik Ellison in the back court, the Johnnies also return an explosive young front-court tandem in sophomores Kassoum Yakwe and Yankuba Sima. The rookies finished first and second, respectively, in the league last season in blocks, combining to turn away nearly five shots per game.

Red Storm fans will also see the long anticipated debuts of Marcus LoVett and Tariq Owens, both of whom sat out last season due to NCAA regulations.


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