On Saturday, Creighton men’s basketball looks to avenge it’s Wednesday loss with a win at home against St. John’s.
St. John’s comes to Omaha with a 13-10 record, boasting two season wins over current top 25 teams, including No. 13 West Virginia and No. 23 Arizona. In conference play, St. John’s has beaten DePaul twice but lost each of their other Big East matchups.
The Red Storm are led by junior forward LJ Figueroa, who averages 14.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Senior guard Mustapha Heron and junior guard Rasheem Dunn also average in double figures, with Heron scoring 13.9 points per game and Dunn at 12.8 points per game.
St. John’s is coached by Mike Anderson, who brought his fast style of play to the Red Storm. They force on average 17.3 turnovers per game, averaging 19.2 points off those turnovers.
The Red Storm’s opponent turnover rate of 20.1% ranks 29th in the country. This will be one of the X-factors throughout the game, as Creighton has the 20th lowest turnover rate at 14.2%.
St. John’s uses these turnovers to play fast. According to Sports-Reference, St. John’s has the 15th highest pace factor in the country at 75.1. Pace factor estimates the amount of possessions per 40 minutes.
For comparison, Creighton has the 143rd ranked pace factor at 70.2.
While turnovers are always important in basketball, if Creighton turns the ball over to St. John’s, it will allow the Red Storm to stay within striking distance of the Jays. If the Jays play a clean game of basketball, they have a big upper hand on Saturday.
St. John’s may only have two wins in conference play, but it’s been able to keep games close against some of the league’s best teams.
On Dec. 31, St. John’s fell 60-58 against Butler, currently ranked No. 19. Against Seton Hall on Jan. 18, St. John’s lost 82- 79, and most recently, the Red Storm lost 73-72 against Georgetown on Sunday.
Creighton can still beat St. John’s if the Red Storm forces the Jays into bad decisions. But, if Creighton sticks to its brand of clean, efficient basketball, then the Jays will be in good shape Saturday night.