The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 13, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carnesecca Arena (6,008) -- New York, New York. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Detroit 1-0, SJU 0-0. Away Record: Detroit 0-0, SJU 0-0. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, SJU 0-0. Conference Record: Buffalo 0-0, FSU 0-0. Series Record: Detroit leads, 2-1.
GAMES NOTES: Steve Lavin will return to the sidelines for St. John's, as the Red Storm kick off the 2012-13 season on Tuesday afternoon against the visiting Detroit Titans.
This will be the second game of the season for Detroit, as the Titans made easy work of Northern Michigan in their opener on Friday by claiming an 88-53 victory. Detroit is coming off a 2011-12 campaign in which it won 22 games and made a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999. The Titans will next hit the hardwood this Saturday at home against Drake.
Lavin will be back to patrol the bench for the Red Storm after he was forced away from the team to recover from prostate cancer last season. He returns a number of young, but experienced players as he looks to recapture the magic of his first season when the Red Storm went 21-12, got into the national rankings and received an invite to the NCAA Tournament 2011 season. St. John's will be on the road next to face the College of Charleston as part of the Charleston Classic.
Detroit leads the all-time series between these two squads by a 2-1 advantage. The Titans took a 69-63 victory last season and a 66-64 decision in 1998. The Red Storm's lone win in the series came back in 1944.
Four different Detroit players scored in double figures to get the win over Northern Michigan last Friday. As a team, the Titans shot a solid 48.6 percent from the floor and knocked down 11 three-pointers, while forcing 25 turnovers.
Doug Anderson was the leading scorer (25) and rebounder (9) in the win over Northern Michigan. Anderson was a regular starter last season and averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Ray McCallum was the top returning scorer and he also finished with very good numbers against Northern Michigan. McCallum put up 22 points, handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds while going 9-of-13 from the floor. McCallum's ability to produce across the board was evident last season (15.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.0 apg). Newcomer Juwan Howard Jr., who transferred from Western Michigan, fit into the starting lineup and also finished in double figures with 12 points. Other scoring options from last season, Nick Minnerath (12.0 ppg in five games) and Jason Calliste (10.2 ppg), were limited in the opener but should be able to contribute and keep Detroit on the torrid offensive pace it was at last season when it led the Horizon League in scoring (72.1 ppg).
Although a number of players from last season's squad are back, there are still some questions on the St. John's roster. In two exhibition games, forward God'sgift Achiuwa (9.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) did not play at all and it is reported that Lavin is considering redshirting the senior forward. Achiuwa's absence won't help a team trying to replace its top rebounder and arguably top player overall in Moe Harkless (15.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg), who left for the NBA. The reason Lavin has yet to make a decision is because he is waiting to hear about the eligibility of juco transfers Orlando Sanchez and Marc Antoine-Bourgault. Leading scorer D'Angelo Harrison (17.0 ppg) is back for another go, meaning there is some consistency in the backcourt. However, Harrison did not appear in either exhibition game. Sir'Dominic Pointer (6.6 ppg) and Phil Greene (7.6 ppg) were tasked with making up for Harrison's absence. Greene started 28 games last season, but was inconsistent during exhibition play with scoring totals of 17 and three points in two contests. Pointer was equally inconsistent, scoring 12 points and five points respectively. However Pointer did amass 11 combined assists.
Having Lavin back on the bench should be a boost for St. John's, something the Red Storm will need, especially if Achiuwa remains out of action. Harrison should be ready to go, but with all the issues swirling around the Red Storm right now, the Titans might be able to steal one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Detroit 75, St. John's 70
11/13 10:42:19 ET