Tuesday, August 16, 2016

St. John's to renew rivalry with Syracuse

After career game in upset win over Syracuse last year, Amar Alibegovic will get a chance to repeat his heroics when St. John's travels to Syracuse in December. (Photo by Chris Barca and Amy Rio/Queens Chronicle)

By Jason Schott (@JESchott19)

St. John's will continue their historic rivalry with Syracuse this season, as they will meet on December 21 at the Carrier Dome. This will be the 91st meeting in a storied rivalry between the former conference rivals that dates back more than 100 years.

When Syracuse left the Big East in 2013, there was concern as to what would happen with this historic rivalry. It wasn't long before the schools entered into a home-and-home series, where they would meet once each season. Since then, St. John’s has captured victories over Syracuse in their previous two meetings, including last year’s 84-72 triumph against the Final Four-bound Orange on December 13 at Madison Square Garden.

The Red Storm makes its first trip back to the Carrier Dome since downing the Orange, 69-57, before a crowd of 24,884 on Dec. 6, 2014. Syracuse owns a 51-39 advantage in the series that began during the 1911-12 season.

Syracuse is fifth and St. John’s ranks ninth on the NCAA’s all-time wins list with 1,920 and 1,803 victories, respectively. Both programs are also among the NCAA's top 10 all-time winning percentages, and have combined for 66 NCAA Tournament appearances.

Entering his second season at the helm in Queens, head coach Chris Mullin returns a young roster featuring a blend of experience and talent. Rising sophomores Federico Mussini, Malik Ellison, Yankuba Sima and All-Big East Freshman Team selection Kassoum Yakwe will complement a highly touted crop of newcomers this season. The quartet played key minutes for the Red Storm in 2015-16, combining for nearly 40 percent of the team’s scoring, rebounding and assists.

Acclaimed first-year players Bashir Ahmed, Shamorie Ponds and Richard Freudenberg will make their Red Storm debuts, along with Marcus LoVett and Tariq Owens, both of whom sat out last season due to NCAA regulations.

*Information from a St. John's University press release also contributed to this story.

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