Steve Lavin's Red Storm are off to a perfect 3-0 start, and two of the three wins have come by wide margins. The club was most recently in action on Sunday when it cruised past an overmatched UMBC squad by an 82-59 final. St. John's is a member of the Big East Conference and isn't considered one of the better teams in the league heading into this season, as many key contributors from last season's successful squad have moved on.
Arizona is ranked to start a season for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign, and head coach Sean Miller has settled into a groove in what is his third season on campus. Like the Red Storm, the Wildcats have opened with three consecutive wins, the most recent of which was a 73-63 decision over Ball State on Sunday. Members of the Pac-12 Conference, the 'Cats are considered one of the top teams in that league by fans and the media alike.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between St. John's and Arizona on the hardwood.
There are many fresh faces in the lineup for St. John's, and a few have stood out from the pack through the first three games of this new campaign. God'sgift Achiuwa has plenty of game to go along with the most unique name in all of sports. He is averaging 17.7 ppg on the strength of his staggering 72.7 percent shooting from the field, and he is ripping down 8.3 rpg as well. Moe Harkless is close behind with 16.7 ppg, and Nurideen Lindsey adds 16.3 ppg and nearly five assists per contest. Rounding out a foursome of double-digit scorers is D'Angelo Harrison with 14.3 ppg. In the 23-point romp over UMBC last time out, all five St. John's starters reached double figures in scoring. Harkless tallied 18 points, while Harrison pitched in with 17 points. A 24-9 edge in points from the foul line was key to the triumph.
Through three outings, Arizona is scoring 71.0 ppg while holding opponents to 62.0 ppg on 37.9 percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats are paced by Kyle Fogg's 14.7 ppg, while teammate Jesse Perry has netted 10.7 ppg. Adding balance to the lineup are Solomon Hill and Nick Johnson, both of whom are scoring 10.3 ppg. In the 10-point win over Ball State last time out, Fogg poured in 21 points on the strength of an 8-of-9 showing from the foul line. Hill pitched in 16 points and 11 rebounds for the 'Cats, who actually trailed by nine points at intermission after shooting 33.3 percent from the field in the first half. Fortunately for coach Miller, his troops hit 5-of-9 three- pointers and 19 free throws in the second half while playing strong defense. They finished the game with a 39-29 rebounding advantage.