St. John’s looks for rare victory over Xavier


With their recent winning streaks ended in their most recent games, Xavier and St. John’s look to start new winning streaks Tuesday night when they meet in a Big East basketball matchup in Queens, N.Y.

The visiting Musketeers (11-3 overall, 4-3 in Big East) had their three-game winning streak come to an end at home Saturday in an 80-72 loss to Connecticut. That game was Xavier’s first since Jan. 30 and just its second game since Jan. 10 due to COVID protocols.

Sophomore Zach Freemantle had career highs of 30 points and 15 rebounds in the loss to UConn, when Paul Scruggs logged a career high 12 assists. Freemantle is the team’s leading scorer at 16.1 points per game and leads the Big East’s in rebounding with 8.6 per game.

Xavier has beaten St. John’s 12 times in a row, including a 69-61 decision in Cincinnati on Jan. 6. The last win for the Red Storm against the Musketeers was back on Feb. 23, 2015. But this is arguably the best Red Storm team since that last win over Xavier, which was the last season they reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.

“We’ve got a great opportunity — it would be a Quad 1 opportunity for our team here,” Xavier coach Travis Steele said, alluding to how a win could bolster his team’s NCAA tournament chances. “St. John’s is the hottest team in our league. They’re 6-1 in their last seven games. They’re a much different team than we saw on Jan. 6.”

The Red Storm (13-8, 7-7) had a six-game winning streak snapped at Butler last Tuesday. But they look to finish the regular season strong with four of their last five games currently on the schedule at home, where St. John’s is 8-2.

Julian Champagnie is the Big East’s leading scorer at 19.7 points per game and is coming off a 19-point performance at Butler last week. St. John’s lost a 16-point lead in a game that went to overtime.

“We were right there. Winning is not easy, especially on the road,” St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said. “When we have momentum, we have to continue to do what got us the momentum. We know we can play better.”

–Field Level Media

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