MU battle Red Storm in unfriendly MSG

After nearly knocking off the Xavier Musketeers at the Cintas Center, the Marquette Golden Eagles travel to the Big Apple for a primetime matchup against St. John’s

The Series

Marquette has been historically dominant over the Red Storm, taking 15 of the 23 meetings. Marquette has won 13 of the last 16 games, but St. John’s knocked off Marquette in both contests last season, including a 91-90 double overtime thriller in Milwaukee.

Madison Square Garden has not been overly friendly to the Golden Eagles. Marquette is just 1-4 at the Garden the past three seasons, including Big East tournament contests.

The Tale of the Tape: St. John’s (12-5, 1-4)

Probable Starters:

#11 G DeAngelo Harrison (20.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.9 apg),

#1 G Phil Greene IV (12.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.4 apg),

#23 G Rysheed Jordan (13.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg),

#12 F Chris Obekpa (7.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.5 bpg),

#15 F Sir’Dominic Pointer (11.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.9 bpg).

After starting the season 11-1, St. John’s dropped its first three conference games. The Red

Storm picked up its first Big East victory on the road against Providence, but immediately dropped its next game to DePaul in overtime. Something isn’t clicking for the Red Storm.

Harrison certainly hasn’t been the problem. The guard is second in the conference in scoring and is averaging 22.5 points in the early portion of conference play. He’s accounted for at least 24 percent of his team’s scoring in each conference game but the DePaul loss.

The problem may lie on the defensive end of the floor. St. John’s ranks fifth in the conference with an average of 63.5 points allowed per game, but that number has inflated to an average of 76.4 points per game since conference play began.

This number is surprising when considering St. John’s has two of the premier shot blockers in the conference in Obekpa and Pointer, who are both in the top-four in the conference in the category. Oddly enough, St. John’s is the stingiest team in the conference in terms of field goal defense, allowing teams to shoot just below 39 percent from the floor.

The demise of St. John’s otherwise stout defense is on the glass. The Red Storm ranks last in the conference in defensive rebounding with an average of 38.1 defensive boards per game. Luckily for them, Marquette ranks last in offensive rebounding.

Marquette Golden Eagles (10-7, 2-3)
Probable starters:

#12 G Derrick Wilson (6.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 3.4 apg),

#13 G Matt Carlino (13.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.4 apg),

#1 G Duane Wilson (11.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.3 apg),

#10 #F Juan Anderson (10.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.3 apg),

#40 C Luke Fischer (11.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 bpg).

The Golden Eagles nearly scored their first true road win of the season and took a nine-point lead into the halftime locker room at Xavier. Marquette collapsed in the second half after Xavier flipped the turnover script and lost by four in Cincinnati.

Matt Carlino had his second-best game of the year with 27 points, but couldn’t quite drag the rest of the team to victory.

The good news for Marquette is it is playing a team that is struggling worse than they are in conference play. Marquette shouldn’t get dominated on the glass by the Red Storm and might not be the under-sized team for once.

Getting Luke Fischer going will be a priority after an ineffective outing against Xavier. Marquette will need to be wary of Obekpa when driving the lane. Players like Duane Wilson, who love to score off the drive, will need to tread lightly against the conference’s best shot blocker.

This game could down to rebounding and second chance points. Harrison will surely get his buckets, but Marquette will have to keep an eye on him even in a 2-3 or 1-3-1 zone. The Golden Eagles will need to contain the Red Storm’s supporting cast to win and force Harrison into bad shots.

Marquette has a chance to score a nice conference road win over a team that curiously can’t

seem to figure things out. A steal in New York City could propel Marquette into another crucial

matchup against Georgetown.

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