Red Storm and Rams meet in MSG Holiday Festival

Dec 14, 2014 - 3:48 PM New York, NY ( - The 24th-ranked St. John's Red Storm will take the court at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon, as they battle the Fordham Rams as part of the MSG Holiday Festival.

It has been a strong start to the season for Steve Lavin's Red Storm. After ending Syracuse's 55-game homecourt winning streak on Dec. 6, St. John's made light work of Fairleigh Dickinson (74-52) to move to 7-1 on the year. The only blemish on the team's record is a 73-66 setback to top-10 foe Gonzaga, but the Red Storm come into this contest with a three-game win streak in tow.

Tom Pecora's Rams have struggled out of the gate and currently sit one game under .500 at 3-4. However, Fordham has played better of late, entering off back-to-back wins over Siena (69-67) and most recently, Monmouth (68-58 OT).

These two teams are very familiar with one another, as this represents the 86th matchup between them and the sixth straight season they have met. St. John's holds a 64-21 series advantage. St. John's recorded a 46-point romp over Fordham in last year's MSG Holiday Festival (104-58), the largest margin of victory in the 105-year history of the series.

The Rams had their chance to win in regulation against Monmouth, but missed some free throws down the stretch, setting up an extra session. However, Fordham took control in overtime and posted the 10-point win. Freshman Chris Sengfelder recorded his first career double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way for Fordham. Junior Mandall Thomas and freshman Eric Paschall were instrumental in the victory as well, posting 15 points apiece.

Offensive proficiency hasn't exactly been a strength for Fordham this season, as the team is netting a modest 65.1 ppg on a poor .389 shooting overall. The team also suffers from a -2.0 turnover margin, but has been solid on the boards, with a +6.1 rebounding edge. Despite his youth, Paschall is the go-to- guy at the offensive end, averaging 18.8 ppg on a solid .494 shooting. Thomas (13.1 ppg) and Sengfelder (10.7 ppg) are key contributors offensively as well. Junior forward Ryan Rhoomes provides a presence up front with 8.7 points and a team-best 11.6 rebounds per contest.

St. John's is a dangerous team with the ability to win games at either end of the floor. The Red Storm are averaging 73.2 ppg on .445 shooting, while holding foes to just 61.5 ppg and well below 40-percent shooting (.366), including a mere .295 from behind the arc. Four players are currently averaging double figures in scoring, giving the Red Storm a balanced attack. D'Angelo Harrison leads the charge in the backcourt, averaging 19.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per outing. Fellow guards Rysheed Jordan (14.4 ppg) and Phil Greene IV (12.3 ppg) provide perimeter depth, while Sir'Dominic Pointer (12.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and Chris Obekpa (7.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg. 4.1 bpg) are enjoying strong seasons up front.

Harrison poured in a game-high 26 points, Greene added 16, Pointer 12 and Obekpa dominated in the low post with 11 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, as St. John's made light work of Fairleigh Dickinson last time out. The Red Storm shot a sizzling .569 from the floor overall, while limiting the Knights to just .373 efficiency.

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