MBB: Rutgers vs, St. John's

St John's Red Storm basketball team visits the RAC Wednesday night Feb, 6 for a 7:30 game against the Scarlet Knights. Thirty years ago these two teams dominated any discussion regarding Division 1 basketball in the NY/Metropolitan tri-state area, while both reached the headlines with the support and approval of the media.

One of the great cross-river rivalries, who traveled similar paths in the past and certainly are traveling similar paths today, will match up for a very important Big East game this Wednesday. Rutgers (10-13, 2-8) following 4 straight games of exciting, competitive basketball, is currently coming off an embarrassing 37 point loss to Louisville. That game may be reminiscent to many of the ugly 48-3 loss to Williams College in 1907. Both games must simply be considered ancient history.

Conversely, St John’s (8-12, 2-7) has just posted a convincing 72-58 victory on the road against USF after being down by 16 points at the half. That’s a 30 point swing folks. In that game, the Storm held USF scoreless for an 8 minute stretch in the second half. This performance came on the heels of one of St John’s worst defeats in history, a 34 point loss to Georgetown. They responded and recovered quite well.

Statistical and historical similarities are eerily similar with these teams, but this will be a new day and yet another important game as these teams jockey for position in the conference, as well as in the recruiting game, which has been business as usual for this 32 game rivalry dating back to 1974.


G - #4 – Eugene Lawrence (6’1”, 210sr) 8.1ppg, quick hands, steals the ball well

G - #10 - D.J. Kennedy (6’6”, 208fr) 8.6ppg, 3pt threat, steals the ball and rebounds well

F - #2 – Anthony Mason Jr (6’7”, 209jr) 13.5ppg, a star and team leader, 3 pt threat, hobbled with ankle/shin injuries

F - #24 – Justin Burrell (6’8”, 235fr) 12.3ppg, big time rebounder, guilty of many freshman turn over’s

C - #11 – Tomas Jasiulionis (6’11”, 249jr) 2.4ppg, very good under the basket – hails from Utena, Lithuania


G - #3 – Malik Boothe (5’9”, 185fr) 3.0ppg

G - #23 – Paris Horne (6’3”, 180fr) 4.7ppg

G - #5 – Larry Wright (6’2”, 172so) 9.4ppg, 3pt threat

F - #22 – Sean Evans (6’8”, 235fr) 2.6ppg

C - #15 – Dele Cole (6’10”, 270fr) 1.7ppg

F - #55 – Rob Thomas (6’6”, 235) a red shirt freshman with very little playing time, but a deadly 3 pt shooter

TV: ESPN 360

Recently Rutgers has done a fine job of minimizing mental and physical lapses, found good rhythm to their offense while continuing to play tenacious defense. The Knights latest handicap is now the pressure of a vicious full court man-to-man defense. They have been unsure of themselves, caught out of position, made poor decisions and turned the ball over far too many times. This has led to easy baskets for the opposition while forcing the Knights to play catch up basketball. When Rutgers is caught in this position they tend to take poor and hurried shots.

The challenge has been set for coach Fred Hill and his staff as they must spend extra practice time preparing to run the gauntlet that will undeniably be thrown their way until the Knights prove they have overcome this latest and greatest deficiency. This will demand hard work and perseverance but Rutgers has proven this year that difficult hurdles can be cleared. The importance of this game is crucial to the short and long term success of this club and once again the play of the “sixth man” at the RAC could make the difference. Considered this an all points alert for fans far and near to pack the RAC for this pivotal game. St John’s will certainly send a loud contingent, because it is business as usual.

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