The West Virginia men’s basketball team will flashback to the days before the Big 12 when it heads to Madison Square Garden to take on the St. John’s Red Storm on Saturday at noon.
The Mountaineers (7-0) and the Red Storm (7-2) have not played since WVU joined the Big 12 and will renew a series that has West Virginia leading all time, 20-17. The last meeting took place on Jan. 25, 2012, when St. John’s handled a Mountaineer team led by standout seniors Kevin Jones and Darryl “Truck” Bryant, 78-62.
This season, the Mountaineers are off to their best start in four years and will look to move to 8-0 for the first time since the 2009-10 season. WVU won 31 games that season and reached the Final Four before losing to Duke.
West Virginia is led by two players averaging 12.3 points per game in freshman Oscar Tshiebwe and senior Jermaine Haley. Haley put up a team-best 18 points against Rhode Island on Sunday.
Tshiebwe averages a team-high 9.7 rebounds per game and is coming off a near double-double, posting 11 points and nine rebounds against Rhode Island.
Sophomore Derek Culver will look to build off a career game, putting up 25 points and 11 rebounds after coming off the bench for the second time this season. On the season, he is averaging 11 points and eight rebounds per game.
Fellow sophomore Emmitt Matthews Jr. also had a strong performance in the last game, putting up 14 points. He has gotten off to an efficient start to this season, averaging almost 11 points per game and shooting nearly 50% from three, hitting 12-of-25. Matthews also leads the team in minutes with an average of 29 per game.
St. John’s will be looking to get a signature win at home as it has no significant wins on its resume to date. It owns losses to Vermont and Arizona State this season.
On the season, the Red Storm are paced by their senior leader Mustapha Heron, who is averaging 15 points per game. He is shooting 19-of-38 from three for 50%.
Junior L.J. Figueroa isn’t far behind, averaging 14.7 points per game and shooting 22-of-50 from three for 44%.
Standing at 6 foot 9 inches tall, sophomore Josh Roberts leads the team in rebounding at just under nine per game. He also leads the team in field goal percentage and blocked shots, shooting nearly 60% from the field and blocking nearly three shots per game.
The game, tipping off at noon from Madison Square Garden in New York City, will be televised on Fox Sports 1.