Expert Cappers Picks
Men's College Basketball
Preview
Wagner at St. John's
When: 4:30 PM ET, Sunday, December 16, 2018
Where: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, New York

St. John's will be in search of its first 10-0 start in 36 years Sunday when it hosts Wagner. The Red Storm, one of two unbeaten teams that are unranked, can match the 10-0 start by the 1982-83 team that featured current coach Chris Mullin by beating the Seahawks.

If downing the likes of Rutgers, VCU and Georgia Tech didn't impress the national voters, then wins over Wagner, St. Francis (N.Y) and Sacred Heart - the final three non-conference opponents for St. John's - probably won't do the job either. Shamorie Ponds, who has averaged 24.7 points in three December games, including 26 points in last Sunday's victory over Princeton, and the Red Storm will likely need to start well in the Big East to join the seven other unbeaten teams in the Top 25. "We're working toward being more consistent, working toward, 20, 25, 30, 40 minutes," Mullin, who led the 1982-83 squad to a 14-0 start, told the media. "We see the potential." Take out his seven points in a lopsided loss to Seton Hall to start the season and Romone Saunders is averaging 19.1 points for the Seahawks, who have alternated between two-game winning streaks and two-game losing streaks to arrive at a 4-4 mark.

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

ABOUT WAGNER (4-4): Saunders, a 6-3 guard from Temple Hills, Md., is closing in on a milestone, needing 18 points to become the 45th player in Wagner history to amass 1,000 career points. The senior ranks among the top 10 active career leaders in the Northeast Conference in points (982), rebounds (436), assists (173) and 3-pointers (143). Senior AJ Sumbry, who recently went over 100 career blocks, is fourth in the NEC with 7.6 rebounds per game for coach Bashir Mason, who is 114-83 in seven seasons with the Seahawks of Staten Island, N.Y.

ABOUT ST. JOHN'S (9-0): The Red Storm are hoping the addition of sophomore junior college transfer LJ Figueroa and junior Mustapha Heron, a transfer from Auburn, can help them carry their success into the Big East, something they couldn't do last season when they lost their first 11 league games after going 10-2 out of conference. Figueroa, a 6-6 guard from Lawrence, Mass., ranks in the top 10 in the Big East in rebounding (7.7), steals (1.8), field goal percentage (55.8) and 3-point shooting (43.6). The duo is shooting a combined 43.8 percent from 3-point territory, propelling the Red Storm to 38.2 percent as a team, good for 52nd in the nation.

TIP-INS
1. In the latest USA Today Coaches Poll, St. John's and Furman (11-0) were also receiving votes at 28th and 29th, respectively.

2. Ponds is tied for eighth in Division I with 2.78 steals per game.

3. The Red Storm have won three games this decade against the Seahawks to push their series lead to 17-2, including 13-2 at home.

PREDICTION: St. John's 85, Wagner 68
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Wagner 4-4 W2 2-2 2-2 0-0 2-2 2-2 0-0
St. John's 9-0 W9 4-0 1-0 4-0 2-0 7-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Wagner St. John's
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/13/15 WAG 57 SJU 66 57 35 31.7 66 31 44.7
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Wagner C. Henson 16 40.0 0
St. John's F. Mussini 18 54.5 2
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Wagner D. Anderson 13 4 9
St. John's D. Johnson 8 1 7
Assists Player  
Wagner J. Cooper 3
St. John's C. Jones 3
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Wagner R. Saunders 141 39.8 41
St. John's S. Ponds 194 53.5 42
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Wagner A. Sumbry 61 18 43
St. John's L. Figueroa 69 16 53
Assists Player  
Wagner R. Saunders 25
St. John's S. Ponds 44
Quickchart Matchup
blue bar Wagner Off vs  red bar St. John's Defense
blue bar 66.8 Points For
red bar 71.9 Points Against
blue bar 39.0 FG%
red bar 42.9 FG%
blue bar 34.0 Reb
red bar 33.0 Reb
red bar St. John's Off vs  blue bar Wagner Defense
red bar 83.1 Points For
blue bar 78.0 Points Against
red bar 47.9 FG%
blue bar 47.2 FG%
red bar 31.7 Reb
blue bar 30.5 Reb