Sun, 24 Jan 2021

St. John's bids to stay perfect vs. BYU at Legends Classic

Field Level Media
02 Dec 2020, 13:40 GMT+10

Anyone who needs a reminder of just how challenging it is to put together a college basketball schedule in the midst of a pandemic can simply check out St. John's proposed nonconference slate and how it compares to the real thing.

St. John's won't have to travel nearly as far as it anticipated toplay Wednesday, when the Red Storm (3-0) are scheduled to face BYU (3-1) in a "Bubbleville" game at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The game will be part of the Legends Classic.

St. John's will be looking to remain perfect after a 97-93 win over Boston College on Monday night. Brigham Young suffered its first loss Tuesday, when the Cougars fell to Southern California, 79-53, in the Legends Classic opener.

The win was the second nail-biter in three games for the Red Storm, who needed a go-ahead 3-pointer from Vince Cole with nine seconds left to edge Saint Peter's, 76-75, in the season opener on Nov. 25.

On Monday night, St. John's led by as many as 20 and almost squandered a 13-point lead in the final 2:39, a span in which it committed turnovers on five consecutive possessions. Boston College pulled within a point twice, but Greg Williams Jr. made 4 of 6 attempts from the free-throw line in the final minute and Julian Champagnie blocked a potential game-tying 3-pointer by Boston College's Wynston Tabbs with 17 seconds left.

"Pleased with a lot of areas, but there's a lot of cleaning we've got to do," St. John's coach Mike Anderson said. "We got better tonight, though."

St. John's initially planned to only play one game in Connecticut. The Red Storm were scheduled to visit Texas Tech in the Big East-Big 12 Battle on Wednesday night but canceled the trip because coronavirus cases are spiking across Texas.

BYU always planned to play two games at Mohegan Sun, but Tuesday's opener against Southern California served as a wakeup call for a squad that hosted its first three games -- two against Division I foes -- over Thanksgiving weekend and won the trio by a combined 96 points.

But the Cougars shot just 27.5 percent from the field Tuesday, when USC ended the first half on a 10-0 run to take a 31-20 lead and expanded the lead to as many as 30 points in the second half.

"It's disappointing," Brigham Young coach Mark Pope said. "It's not just a loss. It's a gut check, a reality check and a test to see who we are. I'm really curious and determined to see if we can figure this out and respond in the right way."

Wednesday's game would be the first between the teams in almost exactly 30 years. St. John's beat BYU, 67-62, in Provo, Utah, on Dec. 8, 1990. The Red Storm lead the all-time series, 7-1.

--Field Level Media

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