The Big Ten does battle with the Big East as a pair of unbeaten teams lock up in the Big Apple. The Nebraska Cornhuskers are on the road as they visit the St. John’s Red Storm in a Gavitt Games matchup Thursday evening. Nebraska improved to 2-0 by beating North Texas 86-67 at home Monday night. St. John’s remained unbeaten as they took down Central Connecticut at home, 80-55, Tuesday night. This marks the first time that the teams have met on the hardwood.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Wearing Out Free Throw Line
Nebraska is 2-0 as they got off to a hot start against North Texas before cruising to the win. A major reason why is their ability to get to the free throw line: the Cornhuskers got to the free throw line 45 times against the Mean Green and 84 times in their first two games this season. Nebraska ran to a 22 point lead after the opening half and kept North Texas at arm’s length the rest of the way. The Cornhuskers shot only 40 percent from the field, including 5 of 17 from three point range, but hit 33 of 45 free throws. Nebraska won the rebounding battle 47-39, grabbing 20 offensive rebounds, and forced 17 North Texas turnovers. James Palmer Jr. led five Cornhuskers in double figures with 18 points plus five boards.
The Cornhuskers are tied for 147th in the nation in scoring offense as they put up 79 points per game. Nebraska is tied for 48th in rebounding with 45 boards a night and tied for 249th in assists with 11.5 per contest. The Cornhuskers are tied for 126th in scoring defense as they allow 67.5 points per game. Glynn Watson Jr. leads the team with 18.5 points plus 2.5 assists per contest. James Palmer Jr. adds 15 points plus four boards a night, Evan Taylor chips in 12 points a game while Isaiah Roby is adding 11 points, 10 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per contest. Isaac Copeland, Jack McVeigh and Thomas Allen average at least five points a night for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska is shooting 39.3 percent from the field and knocks down five three pointers a night while shooting 30.3 percent from beyond the arc. The Cornhuskers have to be better at the line: for all their attempts, they are hitting just 66.7 percent at the stripe.
St. John’s Red Storm Look to Take Next Step in Year 3 of Mullin Era
St. John’s won just eight games in the first year of Chris Mullin’s tenure at St. John’s. They improved to 14 wins last season and look to take that next step this season. The Red Storm is off to a good start as they are 2-0 on the year. St. John’s led by 16 at the half over Central Connecticut and didn’t ease up in the second half to get the win. The Red Storm shot 46.6 percent from the field and knocked down 9 of 21 from three point range in the contest. St. John’s won the rebounding battle 38-29 and forced 21 Central Connecticut turnovers in the game. Shamorie Ponds led the Red Storm with 21 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win.
The Red Storm is tied for 154th in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 78.5 points per contest. St. John’s is tied for 287th in rebounding with 32.5 boards a night and tied for 107th as they dish out 16 assists per game. The Red Storm has been good on defense, ranking tied for 42nd in scoring defense as they allow 58 points per game. Marcus LoVett leads St. John’s with 19 points plus 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Shamorie Ponds contributes 16.5 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals per contest. Bashir Ahmed chips in 11.5 points a night, Justin Simon adds 10.5 points plus 7.5 rebounds and Marvin Clark II puts up 10 points a game. Tariq Owens and Bryan Trimble Jr. each average better than five points a night. St. John’s is shooting 45.6 percent from the floor as a team and knocks down 10.5 threes per contest on 41.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Red Storm connects on 72.7 percent of their attempts at the line.
- Cornhuskers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games
- Cornhuskers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- Cornhuskers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Red Storm are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games
Nebraska’s best chance in this one is to continue their parade to the charity stripe and getting the Red Storm in foul trouble. The Cornhuskers have to cash in on their opportunities at the charity stripe however. Shooting 66.7 percent simply doesn’t cut it if you hope to make a run for the NCAA Tournament. St. John’s is improving by the game under Mullin and things are looking up for the Red Storm. Playing at home here, with their veteran leaders, carries them to the victory in this contest and improves them to 3-0.