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Syracuse vs. St. John’s: Previewing the Red Storm

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Let’s not lose to St. John’s this year?

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange (7-4) hosts the St. John’s Red Storm (5-7) tonight at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse is playing its third game in five days after losing to Georgetown (shivers) on Saturday and blowing out Eastern Michigan on Monday night. St. John’s comes to Syracuse on a two game slide, so what can we expect from the Johnnies?

Chris Mullin’s team comes into tonight’s contest averaging 77.6 points and 38.8 rebounds per game which are both eerily similar to Syracuse’s 77.9 points and 38.9 rebounds per. The Red Storm is led by two left-handed freshmen with similar playing styles. Marcus LoVett leads St. John’s in scoring at 17.8 points per game — he shoots the ball at a high clip. LoVett has been out with an ankle injury of late but was reinserted into the lineup in the team’s most recent loss to Penn State.

Although St. John’s lost out on New York’s Rawle Alkins to Arizona, it still was able to bring in ESPN 100 recruit and Brooklyn native Shamorie Ponds. Ponds had a stellar three game stretch when LoVett was out by scoring 69 points and dishing out 16 assists in his absence. He can mix it up at the rim with his athleticism and shoots the ball well from distance.

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In last season’s matchup at Madison Square Garden, St. John’s shot 50 percent from deep behind Frederick Mussini’s five made triples. He’s shooting nearly 50 percent from range this season so taking away his jumpshot will be key. St. John’s will likely run its 1-4 set which tore apart the Syracuse zone last season.

The top five scorers for St. John’s are all shooting the three ball over 40 percent. The biggest key will be taking away three point shots as the Red Storm has knocked down 124 threes already on the young season. See the Red Storm’s highlights from its win over Binghamton earlier in the season below.