St. John's vs. Charleston: Red Storm face Cougars in 1st round of Charleston Classic

Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

The Red Storm play their second of four games Thursday against the Cougars of Charleston.

The St. John's Red Storm men's basketball season started a bit later than normal, but it kicks into full gear Thursday when the Charleston Cougars host the Red Storm (5:30 p.m. on ESNPU) in round one of the 2012 DIRECTV Charleston Classic tournament.

St. John's (1-0) is coming off a solid season-opening victory, 77-74, over the Detroit Titans on Tuesday. Sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison scored 15 of his game-high 22 points in the second half for the Red Storm, who trailed by as much as 10 points in the final 20 minutes.

Sophomore forward Amir Garrett tallied a double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds) while sophomore guard Phil Greene added 20 points. Freshman center Chris Obekpa, a Long Island, NY native, chipped in with a school-record eight blocked shots, seven points and 11 rebounds.

Harrison, a Preseason All-Big East Second Team selection, began the contest on the bench as he was serving a punishment handed out by head coach Steve Lavin, who has been unhappy with the guard's attitude. Its unclear if Harrison will regain his starting roll Thursday night.

According to the St. John's game notes, Harrison or Sir'Dominic Pointer will start. The rest of the starting four should feature: Garrett, Greene, freshman forward JaKarr Sampson and freshman center Christian Jones.

Meanwhile, the Cougars are led by first-year head coach Doug Wojcik, who helped lead his squad to an impressive 75-58 season-opening victory over Towson on Friday.

Charleston shot 56-percent from the field and was paced by junior forward Trent Wiedeman's 17 points. Last season's All-Southern Conference Third Team selection was one of four Cougars that scored in double figures.

The win featured a starting five of Wiedeman (6'8, 255 pounds), sophomore guard Anthony Stitt (6'1, 185), junior small forward Anthony Thomas (6'7, 207), sophomore center Adjehi Baru (6'9, 225) and senior guard Andrew Lawrence (6'1, 185).

Baru (nine points) was the only starter to not score in double digits. Redshirt junior forward Willis Hall (6'6, 200) came off the bench to score six points.

On Friday, St. John's or Charleston will play either the Auburn Tigers or Murray St. Racers.

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