Friday, November 15, 2013
W2W4: St. John's vs. Wagner
By Kieran Darcy
Here are three things to watch for when St. John's (0-1) hosts Wagner (1-1) on Friday evening at Carnesecca Arena.
Tipoff is 6 p.m., and you can watch the game on Fox Sports 2.
Pressure's on: Is Nov. 15 too early to label a game a must-win? Maybe -- but it's a critical game nonetheless. St. John's is coming off an 11-point loss to Wisconsin to start the season, it's the Red Storm's home opener and they're playing a Northeast Conference opponent.
That said, Wagner was picked to win the NEC in the conference's preseason coaches' poll, receiving seven of the 10 first-place votes. St. John's had better not take this game lightly or come out sluggish.
It's the first of four consecutive games at Carnesecca before Thanksgiving against teams from lesser conferences. The Red Storm need to clean up during this stretch and start building some momentum.
Rookie watch:D'Angelo Harrison and JaKarr Sampson delivered against Wisconsin, scoring 27 and 21 points, respectively. But no one else scored more than six.
That includes much-ballyhooed freshman Rysheed Jordan, who had a rather ho-hum debut against the Badgers -- six points, three rebounds, three assists and three turnovers in 24 minutes, shooting 2-for-9 from the field.
Let's see if Jordan looks better in his regular-season home debut. Jordan is expected to be a major contributor this year, critical to the team's success (or lack thereof).
Wagner point guard Kenneth Ortiz, a six-foot senior, has won NEC Defensive Player of the Year honors the past two seasons. He could guard Harrison or Jordan.
The Seahawks: Wagner opened the season with a 74-62 loss at Penn State last Friday, followed by a 75-67 home win Tuesday over Division II Chestnut Hill College.
Ortiz scored a team-high 20 points against Penn State. Fellow guard Latif Rivers, a 6-foot-1 senior, scored 22 points against Chestnut Hill.
The Seahawks shot an abysmal 2-for-23 from 3-point range against Penn State and 3-for-12 against Chestnut Hill.
They're currently ranked 347th among 349 Division I schools in offensive field-goal percentage (29.9).