St. John’s basketball ready for season opener against St. Peter’s

St. John's basketball players Greg Williams Jr. and Marcellus Earlington (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball players Greg Williams Jr. and Marcellus Earlington (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s basketball is ready for its 2020-21 season opener against St. Peter’s University.

The time has come for speculation to stop and playing to begin as the St. John’s basketball team is ready to open its season.

In the second year under head coach Mike Anderson, the Johnnies will open its year at home against St. Peter’s University, a program the Red Storm defeated last season, 79-69.

According to St. John’s information department, Wednesday night will be just the second meeting between the two programs since 1976 and the third since 1951.

The Johnnies are 18-0 all-time against the Peacocks and St. John’s 18-game winning streak is the longest against a single opponent in program history.

However, St. Peter’s gave St. John’s a scare, rallying from a 25-point deficit last season cut the Red Storm lead to six, but was unable to get any closer to pulling off the miraculous comeback.

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Like St. John’s, St. Peter’s will also be entering the second season under their head coach Shaheen Holloway, a former Seton Hall star.

Holloway led the Peacocks to a 18-12 (14-6 MAAC) record last year, and finished second in the league’s regular season standings.

Both of these programs will enter without their leading scorers from last season as both players. St. John’s LJ Figueroa and St. Peter’s Aaron Estrada transferred to Oregon.

St. John’s could be without its top three scorers from last season’s meeting as Figueroa has transferred, Mustapha Heron graduated, and Zach Braziller of the New York Post first reported that it’s unlikely sophomore forward Julian Champagnie plays as he’s dealing with an ankle injury.

The trio combined for 50 of the Red Storm’s 79 points last season but that could lead into seeing more time from the newcomers such as freshman point guard Posh Alexander and junior college stars Vince Cole and Isaih Moore.

How St. John’s basketball can prepare for St. Peter’s.

Despite no player averaging more than 8.5 points per game last season for the Peacocks, Holloway returned five of his top seven scorers from a year ago, led by top returning scorer KC Ndefo.

Ndefo, now a junior, is a 6-foot-7 forward that averaged 8.5 points per game last season and could have drawn the matchup against Champagnie but now Anderson will adjust his pressing style of defensive accordingly.

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Getting aggressive early will be a key to victory for St. John’s as the Johnnies have a quick turnaround on Thursday with a 2:00pm EST game against La Salle.

St. John’s and St. Peter’s will tipoff at 7:00pm EST on Wednesday evening and the game can be seen on Fox Sports 2.

PREDICTION: St. John’s 75, St. Peter’s 61

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