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St. John’s to Play Michigan State in First Round of Battle 4 Atlantis

St. John's men's basketball head coach, Chris Mullin (Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

St. John’s men’s basketball head coach, Chris Mullin (Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


Yesterday, it was announced by ESPN that St. John’s will verse Michigan State for the first round game of the 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis. This will be the third time in program history that the Red Storm will face the Spartans, which will be on Nov. 23.

The last matchup was held at Alumni Hall in December of 1979 where the Johnnies had an 88-73 victory in the championship game of that year’s Lapchick Tournament.  The other game between the two teams came in the opening game of the 1968 Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden. St. John’s once again conquered the Spartans, 61-51, a day before beating No. 2 North Carolina in the semifinals.

The Battle 4 Atlantis takes place on Paradise Island at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas. It is an iconic resort known worldwide as a leading destination in the Caribbean. The 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis court has combined for 169 NCAA Tournament appearances. St. John’s (28 NCAA appearances, T-24th) is one of three teams that ranks in the top-25 in Division I, joining Louisville (41, 5th) and Michigan State (30, T-16th). LSU (21 appearances), VCU (15), Wichita State (13), Old Dominion (11) and Baylor (10) round out the field.

Chris Mullin will be coaching his second season as Head Coach. The Red Storm returns with a mass amount of young talent as the Johnnies look to make a move forward in the BIG EAST Conference.  St. John’s welcomes back its second-leading scorer from last season, sophomore guard Federico Mussini. He had a team-high 56 three-pointers and led the BIG EAST in free-throw percentage with an 86.2 percent conversion rate.

In addition to Mussini, teammate Malik Ellison joins him in the back court. Kassoum Yakwe and Yankuba Sima will also be back to dominate the court.  The rookies finished first and second, respectively, in the league last season in blocks, combining to turn away nearly five shots per game. Fans will finally be able to see Marcus LoVett and Tariq Owens debut themselves as Johnnies this season. Both of them had to sit out last season due to NCAA regulations.

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