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

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 read more

Clippers prepare for road opener against ‘red hot’ New Orleans Pelicans

first_imgThey’re having fun in New Orleans. Naturally so, but the Pelicans basketball team that awaits the Clippers on Tuesday has come out swinging especially hard this season, to the tune of a scorching 140 points per game.Their 280 points through the first two games was the second-highest first-two-game total in NBA history. The 149 they scored in their home opener against the Sacramento Kings was a franchise record. All that offensive noise has come largely from Pelicans forward Nikola Mirotic, who is the league’s second-leading scorer so far (33 points per game), and Anthony Davis, who is its seventh-leading scorer (28.5).From the sound of it, the Crescent City could prove a tough town for “Clamp City,” although the 2-1 Clippers aren’t exactly limping into their first road game this season. In fact, they’re feeling pretty good – healthy and riding a two-game winning streak following victories against the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chris Paul-less Houston Rockets.Coach Doc Rivers and staff have managed some effective in-game tinkering, making the most of a versatile roster down the stretch. In Sunday’s victory against Houston, Rivers sent forth a late-game lineup of Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – the team’s third closing unit in as many games.“This group is just an interesting group,” Rivers said afterward. “You’re just sitting there trying to figure out each night. For me, it was really difficult to try to figure out the combination of offense and defense and having the right amount of both. We found it, but it was interesting. I’m learning this team.” Along with Williams and Gilgeous-Alexander, Harris has been a consistent presence on the floor late.“Doc is going to do what’s best for the team to win games,” said Harris, who is averaging a team-high 22.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. “At the end of the day, we have to be OK with that.“It takes a lot from, let’s say, a guy like Gallo, (who) last game had 26 points but didn’t end the game,” Harris continued. “But we ended up winning. That’s the sacrifice it takes the team to make. That’s the type of sacrifice different guys are going to have to make on a nightly basis with matchups and with the flow and pace of the game.“That’s the beauty of our team, we have a lot of depth and a lot of guys. We have to be encouraging and wanting for one another when the opportunity sets itself. Everybody has to be ready.” In recent seasons, the Clippers have been relatively successful against the Pelicans, defeating them in 16 of their previous 25 meetings.  But this year’s New Orleans team is really grooving.“New Orleans is red hot right now,” Clippers guard Lou Williams said. “They’re in a great groove, got a lot of guys back, basically the same group, just added Julius Randle (who’s averaging 19 points per game). With how they want to play fast, I think he matches that mesh. It’s working for them, so we’ll go to New Orleans and try to get a win.”AGUA CALIENTE CAMP OPENSThe Clippers’ G-League affiliate opens training camp this week with a roster that includes one returning player, two affiliate players, four players acquired via trade, two via the G-League Draft and four via local tryout.Among them is Anthony Bennett, a former No. 1 overall draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2013. The Clippers acquired the Canadian power forward from the Maine Red Claws earlier this month in a trade.Related Articles Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 center_img For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more