QUEENS, N.Y. -
Currently riding a five-game win streak, the St. John's men's basketball team (5-1) plays its second-straight contest in the friendly confines of its on-campus venue in Queens, as in-state squad St. Bonaventure (4-2) of the Atlantic-10 visits on Tuesday. First-year head coach Steve Lavin and his upperclass Red Storm team meets the Bonnies at Carnesecca Arena at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised in the New York area on SNY, with announcers Gary Apple and Tim Welsh calling the action from courtside. The matchup can also be heard live on the official flagship of St. John's Basketball, Bloomberg Radio 1130-AM, and on RedStormSports.com (subscription), with John Minko and analyst Tarik Turner.
St. John's is in its 50th year of play at Carnesecca Arena, which was built in 1961 as Alumni Hall, and was renamed for Hall of Fame mentor Lou Carnesecca in the fall of 2004. St. John's is now 418-78 (.843) in 49-plus years at Carnesecca Arena (2-0 in 2010-11), which underwent a multi-phase upgrade over the last four offseasons.
St. John's enters the game following a 69-62 victory over Wagner on Wednesday, Dec. 1. The Red Storm shot a season-low 36.1 percent from the field, but forced a season-high 21 turnovers and made 15 steals - the most since March 1, 2005 - to outlast Wagner and run its current win streak to five-straight. Senior D.J. Kennedy, who now has started 99 of a possible 103 career games, came off the bench to lead all St. John's players with a season-high 20 points. He made 6-of-12 field goals, 2-of-4 3-pointers and 6-of-8 free throws and added six rebounds and two steals. Classmate Justin Brownlee, who also played a reserve role, scored 17 on a 7-of-12 effort from the floor, made all three free throw attempts, grabbed six boards, dished two assists and snatched a pair of steals. Upperclass guard Dwight Hardy, who struggled from the field at 2-of-7 but made all five of his free throws, was the only other Red Storm player in double-figures with 10 points.
St. John's and St. Bonaventure meet for the 18th time in a series that dates to 1922, but just under half of the matchups between the two schools occurred before 1930. The Red Storm holds a 12-5 advantage in the series and a 5-1 record against the Bonnies at home. St. John's lone home loss in the series was in the teams' first-ever meeting on Jan. 2, 1922, when St. Bonaventure took a 30-29 win. The Red Storm has won the last three games between the two teams, including a 69-68 victory on Nov. 17, 2009, at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. Kennedy (18 points) and Paris Horne (15 points) led the way for STJ and the Bonnies' then-sophomore Andrew Nicholson led all scorers with 26 points. Point guard Malik Boothe made a pair of free throws with 6.2 seconds left to lift STJ to the win.
STJ heads to Fordham on Saturday, Dec. 11 (7 p.m., YES Network). The Rams are St. John's eighth-most frequently-played opponent in history (STJ leads, 61-20), though the squads have not met at Rose Hill Gym since an 81-58 Red Storm victory on Dec. 7, 2002.
St. John's has been doing an outstanding job taking care of the basketball in 2010-11. The Red Storm is currently ranked second among all NCAA Division I programs in turnovers (9.5 per game), seventh in turnover margin (+7.0) and 12th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.44).
In taking the 33rd Great Alaska Shootout title, the Red Storm became the fifth of six BIG EAST squads to capture a November tournament championship this season. No. 5/5 Pitt topped Maryland and No. 22 Texas to post a 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic victory, while Georgetown downed Coastal Carolina, Wofford and NC State to take the Charleston Classic title and UConn upended Wichita State, No. 2/2 Michigan State and No. 8/9 Kentucky to claim the EA Sports Maui Invitational title. Syracuse won the Legends Classic with victories over Detroit, William & Mary, Michigan and Georgia Tech, while Notre Dame earned the Old Spice Classic title with wins over Georgia, Cal and Wisconsin.
Road warriors early this season, St. John's opened the year with a road trip to the San Francisco Bay Area that covered 5,160 miles between Saturday, Nov. 12, and Tuesday evening, Nov. 16. The Red Storm arrived in NYC at approximately 9:35 p.m. E.S.T. on that Tuesday to prepare for Columbia. Following that matchup, on Monday, Nov. 22, St. John's flew to Anchorage, Alaska, via Seattle, for the 2010 Great Alaska Shootout. The Red Storm covered 12,860 miles via air prior to tip time against Wagner in Queens on Wednesday, Dec. 1.
Of the 73 NCAA Division I men's basketball teams in major conferences, only six opened the season with a true road game (with none coming from the Big 12, SEC or ACC). The six squads were: Georgetown at ODU (Nov. 12); Seton Hall at Temple (Nov. 12); Northwestern at Northern Illinois (Nov. 12); Rutgers at Princeton (Nov. 15); St. John's at St. Mary's (Nov. 16) and Arizona State at New Mexico (Nov. 16).
St. John's earned win No. 1,700 in program history by defeating Notre Dame (69-68) on Feb. 14, 2010, won No. 1,701 with a victory at USF (74-58) on Feb. 20, captured No. 1,702 with its triple-overtime thriller over DePaul (90-82) on March 5, and knocked off UConn on March 9 for No. 1,703. Five wins in 2010-11 make 1,708.
St. John's played its share of close battles last season with 11 of its 16 losses coming by 10 or fewer points. The Red Storm held leads in the second half in seven of its 12 BIG EAST defeats in 2009-10, and led at halftime in six of those losses, including three against ranked opponents. Attaining, playing with and keeping leads -- particularly on the road -- have been major points of emphasis in the 2010-11 preseason.
Kennedy, Horne And The 1,000-Point Plateau
Red Storm swingman D.J. Kennedy became the 44th St. John's player in history to reach the 1,000-point plateau on Feb. 2, 2010, hitting the mark dead-on at 1,000. He now totals 1,241 career points (28th), now in the top 30 and only three points away from overtaking Mel Utley (27th, 1,243, 1973-75) and 17 points from surpassing recent scoring dynamo Daryll Hill (26th, 1,257, 2004-07. Kennedy is actually only 335 points away from cracking St. John's all-time top 10 (1,576), a feat he may accomplish toward the end of his senior season.
The next Red Storm player to join the elite group should be senior Paris Horne. His 983 career points makes him the most-likely candidate to become St. John's 46th member of the 1,000-point club.
2010 grad Anthony Mason Jr. became the 45th player all-time, finishing his career with 1,059 career points (40th). He is now playing in the NBA Developmental League.
Scouting St. Bonaventure
St. Bonaventure is 4-2 this season and averaging 66.5 points per game while holding opponents to 64.2 points per game. The Bonnies have been highly efficient from the field with a .456 field goal percentage and stingy on defense, limiting opponents to a .390 field goal percentage.
Junior forward Andrew Nicholson is St. Bonaventure's biggest weapon, averaging team highs of 18.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest. Nicholson is shooting a 56.9 percent from the field and has a team-high 11 blocks. Guard Ogo Adegboye is having a breakout senior campaign, averaging 11.7 points and leading the team in 3-pointers (13-of-28), assists (23) and minutes (37.8 mpg). Junior guard Michael Davenport and sophomore guard/forward Demitrius Conger are thriving in expanded roles this season. Davenport has a team-high 11 steals and is averaging 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Conger has contributed 10.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
The Bonnies were 15-16 in 2009-10 and finished tied for eighth in the Atlantic-10 Conference after a 7-9 conference mark. St. Bonaventure has eight players back from last year's squad, including three starters.
St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt is in his fourth season leading the team and has posted a 42-55 record with the Bonnies. He is in his 10th season as a head coach and owns a 124-145 overall record.
The Bonnies are coming off their most thrilling win of the season after defeating Buffalo, 76-74, on Andrew Nicholson's jumper with 6.8 seconds remaining. Buffalo clawed back from a 19-point deficit before Nicholson hit the game-winning shot. Ogo Adegboye had career highs with 24 points (including a 7-of-9 effort from 3-point range) and 10 assists to lead SBU to the win.
St. John's is 148-45 all-time against fellow "Saint" schools. The Red Storm owns a 79-11 home record against the eight "Saint" schools it has faced: St. Bonaventure, St. Francis College (N.Y.), St. John's College (Md.), Saint Joseph's (Pa.), St. Lawrence (N.Y.), Saint Louis (Mo.), Saint Mary's College (Calif.) and Saint Peter's (N.J.). St. John's head coach Steve Lavin is 2-2 all-time against "Saint" schools.
Dynamic senior swingman D.J. Kennedy paced the Red Storm in scoring (15.1 ppg), rebounding (202, 6.1 rpg), assists (102, 3.1 apg), steals (38, 1.2 spg), free throw percentage (.756), 3-point field goal percentage (T-1st, .383) and minutes played (31.4 per game) in 2009-10, and was listed second among St. John's leaders in blocked shots (22). Kennedy -- whose scoring (19th) and rebounding (21st) averages ranked him among conference leaders -- was a six-time BIG EAST Honor Roll member last season and is a two-time first team All-Met selection from the Metropolitan Basketball Writers' Association (2008-09, 2009-10). He is 28th on STJ's all-time scoring list with 1,241 career points, and if he matches last season's point total (497), Kennedy will finish his career in the Top 10 among St. John's all-time scorers -- a list that includes legends Chris Mullin (first, 2,440), Malik Sealy (second, 2,402), Felipe Lopez (third, 1,927) and Tony Jackson (ninth, 1,603).
New York City playground legend Dwight Hardy made quite an impression as a prolific scorer in 2009-10, finishing second on the squad with a 15.1 ppg average, pacing the team with 54 made 3-pointers (1.9 3FGs per game ranked 15th among all BIG EAST players) and tying Kennedy for the team mark by hitting at a .383 clip from long distance. A starter in the first six games in 2010-11, he actually averaged 22.2 minutes per game in his inaugural season (fifth on the squad) despite making only two starts.
Lightning-quick and Queens-tough, senior Malik Boothe returns as the incumbent floor general. Playing through the gut of the 2009-10 season with a groin injury despite missing only one contest, a healthy Boothe over the last 10 games of 2009-10 averaged 6.8 ppg on 53.1 percent field goal shooting (including a 4-of-7 mark from long range), 4.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals.
Great Alaska Shootout MOP Justin Brownlee was a key contributor for the Red Storm in his first season, ranking fifth on the team in scoring (6.8 ppg), fourth in rebounding (4.5 rpg), tied for second in blocks (22) and third in free throw percentage (.742). After three starts last season, he has been in the starting line-up for five games in 2010-11.
Rookie forward Dwayne Polee II -- the 2010 Los Angeles City Section and MaxPreps State of California High School Player of the Year -- impressed in the preseason and has made an immediate impact in the first six games. The athletic newcomer with the 40-inch vertical averaged 20.9 ppg and 9.8 rpg in leading Westchester High School to the 2010 California state title as a senior.
Senior guard Paris Horne -- noted as one of STJ's toughest perimeter defenders -- is also on-pace to leave his mark in the Red Storm's offensive career record books. With 126 career 3-point field goals made, Horne currently is third all-time and is only 27 treys short of moving into first place. His 983 career points makes him the most-likely candidate to become St. John's 46th member of the 1,000-point club.
Senior forward Justin Burrell is back in action after missing four weeks with a fractured metacarpal (hand). The big man averaged 6.6 ppg last season and owns nine career double-doubles.
Bruising forward Sean Evans established himself among the Red Storm's most consistent performers in 2009-10. Evans' 10 career double-doubles include a 19-point, 10-rebound effort against UConn in the BIG EAST Tournament. He averaged 15.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg while shooting .765 from the field and 1.000 at the free throw line (5-for-5) in last year's end-of-year conference event.
Imposing big man Dele Coker returns to the post after leading the squad in field goal percentage (.629) and rejections (24, 0.9 bpg, Top 20 in the BIG EAST).
Local guard Malik Stith has seen time at the one and the two after dealing 37 assists and only 22 turnovers as a freshman. Redshirt sophomore Quincy Roberts is also back after being sidelined last season to injury.