Queens, NY (Sports Network) - In a Big East Conference clash the St. John's
Red Storm will bring in the No. 20 Pittsburgh Panthers to Madison Square
Garden on Sunday.
Pittsburgh has taken losses in its last two contests with setbacks against No.
17 Marquette and No. 25 Notre Dame. The recent struggles have the Panthers in
eighth in the crowded Big East standings at 8-6 against league foes. However
the Panthers are one of one of five teams in the conference with at least 20
wins. Up next the Panthers will host South Florida.
As for St. John's, it ended a two-game slide with a 69-54 win over South
Florida on Wednesday. The Red Storm's postseason hopes are still hanging on
with the team at 16-10 overall, while the it is also in eighth place in
the conference standings (8-6). At home the Red Storm have a strong 12-3
record including wins in the last five bouts. St. John's travels to face
Pittsburgh knocked St. John's out of the Big East Tournament last time these
teams met up. The victory was the seventh in the last eight meetings for
Pittsburgh. However the Red Storm leads the all-time series, 34-23.
In a brutal battle with Notre Dame the Panthers' offense stalled in a 51-42
defeat. Pittsburgh shot just 34.8 percent from the field and missed on all
eight attempts from 3-point range. Pittsburgh was also on the short end of a
40-25 margin in rebounds.
Low-scoring, defensive battles are right in Pittsburgh's wheel house normally.
The Panthers are letting up the seventh fewest points per game in the nation
(55.2 pg), holding teams to less than 40 percent from the field. Offensively
the Panthers play extremely efficiently shooting the 21st best percentage from
the floor (.476) while assisting on 16.8 field goals a game which is eighth
nationally. Tray Woodall (10.9 ppg, 5.3 apg) is the leading scorer on the team
as well as one of the top 10 players in the conference in assists. Woodall had
a team-high 11 points against Notre Dame. Lamar Patterson (10.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
and Talib Zanna (10.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are also double-figure scoring threats.
St. John's dominated the first half against South Florida and then coasted to
victory in the final 20 minutes. The Red Storm led 33-17 at the break by
holding the Bulls to just seven field goals on 25-percent shooting. JaKarr
Sampson had a game-high 20 points in the battle.
The Red Storm are another strong defensive team that holds opponents to less
than 40 percent shooting. The squad's strength has been protecting the rim as
it leads the country in blocks (7.4 pg). Chris Obekpa (3.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.1
bpg) leads the way in that regard as the active leader in blocks in the nation
with Kentucky's Nerlens Noel out for the season. D'Angelo Harrison (18.3 ppg)
is the leading scorer on the roster, while Sampson (14.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg) has
also provided strong scoring efforts. Harrison has been in double figures in
eight of the last nine contests, while Sampson bounced back from an eight-
point effort against South Florida.
The Sports Network