Syracuse men’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about St. John’s

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first_imgUPDATED, 6:01 p.m.: Red Storm reserve guard sharpshooter Federico Mussini did not make the trip to Syracuse, according to The New York Post.Syracuse (7-4) gets ready to take on St. John’s (5-7) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. The Red Storm is the Orange’s penultimate nonconference opponent. SU is coming off a 48-point blowout win over Eastern Michigan on Monday.Here’s everything you need to know about St. John’s.All-time series: 51-39, Syracuse leads.Last time they played: Last season, the Orange traveled to Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13 and suffered an 84-72 loss to St. John’s. SU went just 24-of-67 from the field. The Orange cut the deficit to seven points but never got closer than that after halftime. Malachi Richardson went 0-for-11 from 3 but proclaimed after the game that his shots would eventually fall. Under then-interim head coach Mike Hopkins, SU used a press defense to try and mount a comeback, but the hole was too big at that point. St. John’s’ Federico Mussini poured in a team-high 17 points on 5-of-7 from behind the arc.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe St. John’s report: The Red Storm enters its matchup with Syracuse on a two-game losing streak, dropping games to LIU Brooklyn and Penn State. St. John’s ranks as the 136th best team in the country, according to Kenpom.com. In adjusted efficiency, its offense ranks 157th and its defense ranks 133rd. Those numbers bode well for Syracuse, a team in search of stockpiling as many wins as possible due to the lack of impressive victories. A victory over the Red Storm wouldn’t qualify as impressive, but a win nonetheless.St. John’s also ranks second-to-last in all of Division I in “luck,” meaning it’s lost more close games than would be expected considering the number of close games SJU has played in. Six of the Red Storm’s seven losses have been by 11 points or less. That said, St. John’s has lost to some of college basketball’s worst teams: LIU Brooklyn, Old Dominion and Delaware State, among others.How Syracuse beats St. John’s: Don’t let Shamorie Ponds, Bashir Ahmed and Marcus LoVett get hot early in the game. St. John’s’ top three scorers could pose problems if they are all playing well together. They combine to average 46.5 points per game. Outside of those three, the Red Storm doesn’t have many other weapons. The Red Storm is allowing opponents to score 72.4 points per game so if SU can limit St. John’s’ offense, the Orange will roll to its eighth win of the year.Stat to know: 28 — Percent of possessions St. John’s’ Bashir Ahmed is used on, per Kenpom. That ranks fifth in the Big East and 136th nationwide. Percentage of possessions used means 28 percent of the Red Storm’s possessions end with an action by Ahmed while he’s on the court. Ahmed only plays 23.8 minutes per game, but when he’s in, the Red Storm’s offense flows through him. He’s also averaging 11.8 points and has a team-high 35 turnovers.Player to watch: Shamorie Ponds, guard, No. 2Ponds is one of just two players on the Red Storm who have started every game. He’s averaging 16.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 33 minutes per game. His 56.8 effective field-goal percentage ranks 277th in the country. In St. John’s’ last four games, Ponds has scored an average of 20.3 points. He’s the player Syracuse has to be concerned about. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on December 20, 2016 at 5:42 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschwedslast_img

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