Gaels come calling on 20th-ranked Red Storm

Dec 19, 2014 - 3:31 PM Queens, NY ( - Foes from opposites sides of the country get together on Friday night, as the Gaels of Saint Mary's comes calling on the 20th-ranked St. John's Red Storm for a non-conference tussle at Carnesecca Arena.

Saint Mary's opened the season with five consecutive victories, all at home, but has dropped two of its last three to fall to 6-2. A 73-71 home loss to Northern Arizona on Tuesday was the most recent, and it marked the team's second straight setback in Moraga.

St. John's is off to a tremendous start, having won eight of its first nine games. The team's lone loss came against nationally-ranked Gonzaga, a team from Saint Mary's West Coast Conference, with that game taking place in New York City back on Nov. 28. The Red Storm took down Fordham last Sunday during the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival, and each of the team's first 10 games will all have taken place in the Empire State.

The series between these two teams is knotted at 1-1, with the most recent meeting occurring in 2010 -- a 76-71 home victory for the Gaels.

Brad Waldow scored 25 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and dished out six assists, but that superb effort went for naught as Saint Mary's dropped a narrow decision to Northern Arizona earlier in the week. Waldow, who went 8-of-12 from the field and 9-of-12 at the foul line, wasn't the only double-digit scorer for the Gaels, as Dane Pineau added 15 points, while Kerry Carter and Aaron Bright tacked on 10 apiece. As a team, SMC shot 44.1 percent from the field, but just 6-of-22 from beyond the arc. The Lumberjacks managed a 46.4 percent shooting effort, which included seven treys.

As he was in the last game, Waldow has been a man possessed for Saint Mary's this season, as he is averaging a double-double with 21.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest. At 14.4 and 13.0 ppg, respectively, Carter and Bright round out the double-digit scorers for the Gaels, who are netting 75.6 ppg while allowing 68.4 ppg. A +10.3 rebounding advantage has certainly helped the cause, although a -2.1 turnover differential means there is still at least one area the team needs to improve.

St. John's posted its seventh double-digit win of the season in the recent bout with Fordham, as Rysheed Jordan matched his career high with 24 points and D'Angelo Harrison added 22 of his own. As a collective unit, the Red Storm shot 48.2 percent from the floor, despite missing two-thirds of their 3-point attempts. Defensive pressure played an important role, as the Rams were limited to 38.8 percent field goal efficiency, and they missed the mark on 17 of their 22 long-range launches. Fordham was also guilty of 20 turnovers, compared to only eight for St. John's.

Like Waldow for SMC, Harrison (19.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg) performs well at both ends of the court for a St. John's squad that is putting up 73.3 ppg while permitting only 60.6 ppg. Support comes from Jordan (15.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg), Phil Greene IV (11.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg), SirDominic Pointer (10.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Chris Obekpa (7.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 3.7 bpg). The Red Storm are outshooting foes (.449 to .368), while holding them to just 28.7 percent success from long range. They also own favorable margins in both rebounding (+4.6) and turnovers (+2.3).

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!