Finally, Chris Mullin and the St. John’s Red Strom will welcome back a rivalry that’s excited many fans, the Duke Blue Devils.
It wasn’t that long ago when St. John’s would play Duke annually, making it the most anticipated non-conference game for the Red Storm.
They took a little hiatus over the last couple of years but it will be back as St. John’s will play a home-and-home series with Duke starting next season.
St. John’s will play Duke next season on February 3 at Madison Square Garden and then the two will play each other at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC the following year in the 2018-2019 season.
Since 1999, these two have played each other regularly despite this being a nonconference game. St. John’s was 3-12 vs Duke in that stretch, mainly with bad St. John’s teams.
There were, however, some memorable moments between the two, especially the St. John’s victories.
In 1999, even though St. John’s lost a tough one in overtime, they tied it up at the end of regulation when Ron Artest hit a game-tying three-pointer to send it to overtime.
The following year in 2000, St. John’s did come out victorious over Duke at Cameron when Bootsy Thornton hit the game winner.
In 2003, in a tie game, Marcus Hatten made a big steal and was fouled at the buzzer. Hatten hit the free throw, leading unseeded St. John’s to the shocking upset win.
In 2011, St. John’s blew out Duke at the Garden, 93-78.
Despite the lopsided matchups on most of them, some of them have been nothing short of dramatics between the two and it will definitely be great to see them both duke it out again soon.
St. John’s will finish under .500 again but barely this time, which is a big improvement from a year ago. They will be better with the continual development of Shamorie Ponds and Marcus Lovett in the backcourt and St. John’s will add a few new recruits.
If they can improve on their inside play and give Tariq Owens more support defensively down low, this will be a team to be reckoned with.
In any event, it’ll be great to see two storied programs go at it yet again. It’s great for college basketball. It’ll be even better if St. John’s keeps improving and plays Duke with more challenging squads, possibly making these games more competitive and present more drama.
Not to mention more wins for St. John’s this time over their nonconference rival. It should be fun and exciting again.