Covering the St. John's University basketball program back to Big East promience. "This year it's time to win."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Opening Round - Holiday Festival

Tonight with St. John’s back in the Big Apple after a three game stint in Hawaii for the Rainbow Classic, is back after a rather lengthy break. I hope to keep the site up and running throughout coach Norm Roberts’ now fourth season. This season so far has been a definite disappointment, with losses to mid-majors, Niagara, Ohio, Tulane, not to mention a blow out loss to Miami in Coral Gables. Not to say some of this wasn’t expected with a roster packed with freshmen, 8 in total.

Things could be on the upswing though, junior Anthony Mason Jr., whom big things are expected for this season, has been working his way back into the rotation after a early season bout with a high ankle sprain. Rob Thomas is also finding playing time for the first time ever at St. John’s. Granted a partial qualifier by the NCAA last fall that requires a year wait for players to get on the court, Thomas also sustained a major knee injury in March playing pickup basketball. Chances of Thomas returning to the rotation this soon were slim to none at that point in time.

We’ll embark on these proceedings in more detail soon enough, but getting to tonight’s game, St. John’s (5-4) takes on the Marist Red Foxes (6-5) in the first round of the Aeropostale Holiday Festival in Madison Square Garden, following Hofstra (2-6) and Virginia Tech . Tip for the doubleheader is scheduled for 6:30. The winner of each two games will square off in tomorrow’s championship round.

Marist rolls into the Garden after a nine point loss at Niagara nearly a week ago. The Red Foxes did no better then St. John’s attempting to contain the nation’s leading scorer, Charron Fisher, giving up his average of 27 points in the loss. St. John’s had previously given up 30 points to Fisher, but did hold him to 8-29 shooting. Marist’s leading scorer is Louie McCroskey, one name Big East fans will remember. In his first year eligible since transferring from Syracuse, McCroskey is averaging 13.5 points per game. Marist could put up a good fight against a St. John’s team that is still looking for anything resembling a set rotation, but St. John’s may get a boost playing in front of the Garden crowd for the first time this year. The last time these two met Marist posted the upset 56-53 two years ago led by Jared Jordan.

Fans can take in the action on MSG or on radio Bloomberg 1130. Live streaming audio will also be available on