U-C-L-A (15-11) at St. John's (10-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday February 18th, 1:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (19,763) -- New York, New York. Television: CBS. Home Record: UCLA 12-4, SJU 8-6. Away Record: UCLA 2-5, SJU 2-8. Neutral Record: UCLA 1-2, SJU 0-2. Conference Record: UCLA 8-6, SJU 4-10. Series Record: St. John's leads, 6-3.
GAME NOTES: The UCLA Bruins will take their talents to the Big Apple today as they square off with the St. John's Red Storm in non-conference action at Madison Square Garden.
This will be just the 10th meeting between the two historic basketball programs. St. John's holds a 6-3 lead in the all-time series, but UCLA won last season's encounter, 66-59, at Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins won their third game in four tries on Thursday as they picked up a 64-54 victory over their crosstown rival USC Trojans. Head coach Ben Howland's team improved to 15-11 overall with the decision. UCLA showed off its superior rebounding abilities against USC, as it held a 46-25 advantage on the glass in the contest. The Bruins are netting 69.4 ppg on 46.6 percent shooting from the floor this season, while holding opponents to 63.6 ppg.
Lazeric Jones paces UCLA with 13.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Jones was limited to just six points after he attempted only four field goals in the team's win over USC on Thursday. David and Travis Wear each contributed double-doubles in the contest. David Wear had game-highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Travis Wear added 14 points and 11 boards. Jerime Anderson had a strong offensive showing as he netted 14 points and handed out five assists.
A step outside of Big East action might be what St. John's needs to regroup after losing its last four games. The Red Storm were embarrassed as they were handed a 94-64 loss by the Seton Hall Pirates on Thursday. The Pirates had their way with the wavering SJU defense, as they hit 62.3 percent of their field goals including 15-of-24 from beyond the arc to bury the Red Storm. Head coach Steve Lavin has taken an indefinite lead of absence for medical reasons, which will cause him to miss today's bout with his former team. St. John's is 2-8 since Lavin left the team. The Red Storm are being outscored by an average of 4.4 ppg.
A big reason for SJU's struggle this season has been its lack of depth. The Red Storm have a pair of dynamic scorers in D'Angelo Harrison and Moe Harkless. Harrison is leading the squad with 16.5 ppg, while Harkless adds 15.6 points and a team-best 8.5 rebounds per game. Harkless recorded a double- double with 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Red Storm's blowout loss to Seton Hall on Tuesday. God'sgift Achiuwa, Phil Green, and Sir'Dominic Pointer all average near 30 minutes per game.
UCLA has much more depth and size than St. John's, but the Red Storm are never easy to beat at Madison Square Garden. The Wear twins should be able to wear SJU down over the course of the game while Jones and Anderson tire out the home team's backcourt. The Red Storm have some undeniable talent, so a victory is not extremely unlikely, but the Bruins will need to have an off-night for SJU to defend their home floor successfully.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCLA 73, St. John's 65
02/18 10:37:10 ET