St. John's at Fordham -- a preview

St. John's and Fordham will renew their longstanding rivarly on Saturday evening at historic Rose Hill Gymnasium in the Bronx.

Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will air locally on the YES Network.

St. John's (5-2) will be trying to bounce back from a very disappointing 67-66 loss at home to St. Bonaventure on Tuesday. Shooting guard Dwight Hardy broke out of his shooting slump, making 10 of his 18 shots from the field and finishing with 24 points. But D.J. Kennedy -- last year's leading scorer -- had another lackluster game, with just six points. And freshman Dwayne Polee -- who made such a big splash in the team's season opener against St. Mary's last month -- didn't score a point in seven minutes, and spent the final 19:03 of the game glued to the bench after taking an ill-advised shot to start the second half.

Also, the Red Storm's free throw shooting cost them dearly -- they were just 10-for-20 on the game, and are now shooting just 63.4 percent from the charity stripe for the season.

Fordham (4-4) has already doubled its win total from a season ago (when they finished 2-26) under first-year coach Tom Pecora, formerly of Hofstra. The Rams come in having won two in a row -- by seven at Lehigh, and by 14 versus Manhattan.

Senior guard Brenton Butler is Fordham's leading scorer so far this season, averaging 16.1 points per game. He also leads the team in assists (4.9 apg). Sophomore forward Chris Gaston -- last season's Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year -- is averaging 15.5 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. He's currently the No. 3 rebounder in all of Division I.

Also worth noting: Fordham is even worse than St. John's at the foul line, shooting a woeful 59.8 percent as a team so far this season.

This will be the 82nd meeting between these two programs, with St. John's holding a 61-20 all-time edge in the series. St. John's has won the past three matchups, including a 73-56 win at Carnesecca Arena last season.

Overall, St. John's has won its past nine games against other teams from the five boroughs. The Red Storm's last local loss? A 63-51 loss at the 2006 Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden to Hofstra -- coached by Pecora.