St. John’s basketball looks to give head coach milestone victory

St. John's basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball (Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images) /

St. John’s basketball looking to give its head coach a milestone victory against Butler. 

The St. John’s basketball program is the hottest team in the Big East Conference but they are playing for more than a chance to extend its winning streak and chase down an NCAA Tournament bid on Tuesday night.

If the Johnnies (13-7, 7-6 Big East) defeat Butler (6-10, 5-8 Big East), it would be the 400th career victory for head coach Mike Anderson.

Anderson, who is in the midst of his second season in Queens, has never suffered a losing season as a head coach and doesn’t appear to see his first this year despite a rocky start to Big East play.

Mike Anderson has the most victories in his NCAA head coaching career at Arkansas, 169, and currently sits at 30 wins with St. John’s.

St. John’s began its midseason turnaround with a victory over Butler in Queens, 69-57, but this Bulldog team is very different than the one came into Carnesecca Arena in mid-January.

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LaVall Jordan’s team saw the eligibility of Bo Hodges be granted prior to its loss to Xavier as he fell two assist shy of a triple-double in a loss to Marquette.

Freshman guard Chuck Harris set a career high in points in the loss to the Red Storm with 22 and matched that total in Butler’s victory over DePaul on Saturday afternoon.

Bulldogs leading scorer Jair Bolden hasn’t been playing his best basketball of late, averaging just 7.5 points per game in his last four outings while shooting 11-of-40 in those contests.

Aaron Thompson also has also been averaging 7.5 points per game in his last four but with a 43.3 shooting percentage.

St. John’s basketball must continue what has been working

In its six game winning streak, the Red Storm have been lead by its resurgent defense and timely offense and that must continue against Butler if the Johnnies want a chance to win.

Freshman guard Posh Alexander and sophomore Julian Champagnie must lead the way for St. John’s and the others will follow suit as the team continues its quest for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Look for another strong outing from Isaih Moore, Dylan Addae-Wusu, and Marcellus Earlington off the bench as the three role players have been vital to the success of the Johnnies over the last month.

Moore did not play against Butler in the first meeting as he was serving a one game suspension for a violation of team rules.

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The junior college transfer is averaging 7.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 14.1 minutes while shooting 69.6-percent from the field (23-of-33) since his suspension.

NCAA Tournament teams win games like this. Late night tipoffs on the road against a feisty team who has the ability to play well yet doesn’t have a good record.

It’s not as much of a trap game as the victory against Providence was, but it is by no means a look ahead victory.

Mike Anderson must have his team focused and not looking ahead to its scheduled weekend off.

Tipoff is slated for 9:00pm EST (Fox Sports 1) inside Hinkle Fieldhouse, a venue St. John’s has not won in since the 2013-14 season.

PREDICTION: St. John’s 71, Butler 64

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