Opponent: St. John’s Red Storm (Big East Conference)
Record: 2-0 (Last game: W vs Franklin Pierce, 94-81)
KenPom Ranking: 61
Tip-Off Time: 7:30pm
Location: Carnesecca Arena – Jamaica, NY
Media Game Coverage: TV: ESPN3/Radio: WNYM 970 AM
Meeting History: 13th meeting. St. John’s leads series 9-3.
Projected Starting Lineups:
LIU Brooklyn: Elvar Friðriksson (G), Gerrell Martin (G), Martin Hermannsson (G), Landon Atterberry (F), Nura Zanna (F)
St. John’s: Rysheed Jordan (G), D’Angelo Harrison (G), Phil Greene IV (G), Sir’Dominic Pointer (F), Chris Obekpa (F)
St. John’s is off to a 2-0 start after victories against NJIT and Division II school Franklin Pierce at home. This game is St. John’s second game in this season’s NIT Season Tip-Off.
The Red Storm was picked to finish third in the preseason Big East coaches poll. Last season, St. John’s went 20-13 and were ousted from the Postseason NIT in the first round by Robert Morris after failing to gain an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
St. John’s returns a wealth of experience with six juniors and seniors. Five of them are in head coach’s Steve Lavin main rotation. That group is led by senior shooting guard D’Angelo Harrison (20.5 ppg/12.0 rpg). He is coming off a remarkable double-double against Franklin Pierce where he scored 31 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the St. John’s win.
Joining Harrison in the backcourt are two guys in sophomore point guard Rysheed Jordan (18.5 ppg/6.0 rpg/5.5 apg) and senior guard Phil Greene IV (12.0 ppg). Senior Sir’Dominic Pointer (10.5 ppg/7.5 rpg/2.5 spg) who usually plays at guard but at 6’6” and in this lineup, he is playing the ”4” position for the Johnnies. In the middle, protecting the paint is shot-blocking extraordinaire in junior Chris Obekpa (10.5 ppg/10.5 rpg/ 3.0 bpg). He led the Big East in blocks and was third in the nation in block percentage last season. Also part of the rotation is junior Jamal Branch (6.5 ppg/4.5 apg).
Early on, St. John’s is averaging 85.5 ppg and 1.12 points per possession while allowing opponents to score 69.5 ppg. St. John’s is shooting the ball at a 44.7% clip from the field while making just 27.6% of their threes. They have a rebounding margin of +14.5 through their first two games.
St. John’s has won the last four meetings against LIU Brooklyn. This is their first meeting since 2009. LIU Brooklyn last win in this series was back in the season opener of the 1996-97 season in which LIU won 76-73.
Video courtesy of LIU Brooklyn Athletics
LIU Brooklyn opens their 81st season of play and their third under head coach Jack Perri (29-34). LIU is coming off a disappointing and injury-filled 9-21 season where they ended up missing the NEC tournament after three straight seasons of winning the NEC tournament and playing in the NCAA Tournament.
Six players return from last season’s team as the Blackbirds begin a rebuilding process this season with one player remaining (Gerrell Martin) who has won an NEC championship. Nine new players step onto the court for Perri’s team this season and that is including five freshman and one redshirt freshman.
Leading this group this season is senior shooting guard Gerrell Martin. He is the top returning scorer on LIU from last season at 12.2 ppg. The only other returning starter from last season is senior Landon Atterberry. He started in 23 of 29 games a year ago while helping led the team in rebounding.
Three new players will grace the starting lineup. Redshirt freshman forward Nura Zanna, who missed last season with a wrist injury, is now back and likely will be immediately inserted into the starting five in the middle. Likely joining Martin in the backcourt are a pair of freshmen from the Iceland national team in point guard Elvar Friðriksson and combo guard Martin Hermannsson.
Returning sophomores Iverson Fleming, Joel Hernandez and Glenn Feidanga should all see plenty of playing time in Perri’s rotation off the bench. JuCo transfer Jonathan Tshibuy should be an immediate contributor in the front court although he will miss this game tonight due to a minor knee injury. Freshmen point guard Jamil Hood and twin forwards Trevin and Trevon Woods will look to make an impact off the bench.
LIU will look to improve on a defense that gave nearly 80 points a game to their opponents and allowed teams to shoot 52.5% from two and 39% from three. LIU scored just under 72 ppg last season and shot under 43% from the field and under 35% from three.
LIU’s Keys to the Game:
– Two St. John’s players LIU will need to keep an eye out for on the court are D’Angelo Harrison on the perimeter and Chris Obekpa on the interior. If either one has big game, it could be a long night for the Blackbirds.
– Glenn Feidanga will probably be a gametime decision if he plays coming off the bench. If he does, it actually gives LIU a bit of advantage in terms of front court size with Zanna, Atterberry and Feidanga. The LIU front court will have to play smart and try to stay out of foul trouble.
– Gerrell Martin who wants to show off his defensive skills this season, will get a test right off the bat guarding D’Angelo Harrison. If Martin can slow down Harrison enough and limit his production, it could be quite interesting come the second half.
– As always, when LIU plays higher level competition, they must protect the ball and limit the turnovers which can turn into transition baskets for St. John’s. Also, they need to pound the glass on both ends and limit St. John’s getting second and third chance shots.
KenPom Game Prediction: St. John’s, 88-66. LIU win probability: 4%
LIU Brooklyn will be off until Tuesday, November 25th when they make their first of the two trips to City of Brotherly Love in a span of six days as they take on Saint Joseph’s in 7pm tip-off. It will be the second game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.