W2W4: St. John's vs. Seton Hall

January, 23, 2014
1/23/14
1:57
PM ET
Here's what to watch for when St. John's (10-8, 0-5 Big East) plays Seton Hall (11-7, 2-3 Big East) on Thursday at Carnesecca Arena.

Tipoff is at 7 p.m., and you can watch the game on CBS Sports Network.

LAST CALL? This is St. John's final home game in January, and final game of the season at Carnesecca Arena. If the Red Storm are going to turn things around, this is their best chance to start doing it.

The spring semester began Wednesday, so the students should be back in the building, which could help.

A hot start would help, too. St. John's fell behind 14-2 in its last Big East game against Providence one week ago. The Red Storm have dug themselves early holes in several games this season.

M.I.A.: St. John's still leads the country in blocked shots per game (8.8), but Chris Obekpa has looked out of sorts in recent games -- a step slow, even lethargic at times. In the past five games, he has more fouls (14) than blocked shots (11). In the team's win over Dartmouth last Saturday, he fouled out in just 12 minutes, with zero points, three rebounds, two blocks and three turnovers.

Obekpa can be a game-changer off the bench when he's motivated -- we saw it several times last season, and early this season as well. He's capable of several blocks per game, and inspires his teammates with his defense, too. St. John's desperately needs that presence right now.

THE PIRATES: Seton Hall is coming off a 10-point win at Georgetown last Saturday -- although the Hoyas were missing two starters, Jabril Trawick and Joshua Smith. The Pirates went 9-4 against a relatively weak nonconference schedule, including losses to Fairleigh Dickinson, St. Peter's and Mercer. They opened Big East play with a double-overtime win at Providence, followed by losses versus Creighton (by 13), versus Villanova (by 16) and at Marquette (by one).

Four players average in double figures, led by 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Sterling Gibbs (15.3 ppg, 4.4 apg), in his first year after transferring from Texas. The others are 6-foot-6 senior guard swingman Fuquan Edwin (12.6 ppg, 3.2 spg), 6-foot-7 senior swingman Brian Oliver (12.4 ppg, 45.3 3P%), and 6-foot-9 senior center Gene Teague (10.7 ppg, 9.4 rpg).

Seton Hall is 26th in Division I in free throw attempts per game (27.9), and tied for 52nd in free throw percentage (73.4) -- and St. John's has a habit of putting teams on the foul line frequently. The Pirates are also tied for 43rd in 3-point field goals per game (7.9), and tied for 88th in 3-point percentage (36.6). They're not very good on defense, though -- ranked 218th in points allowed per game (71.4), 152nd in field-goal percentage defense (43.0), and 292nd in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (37.0).
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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