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St. John's to play Kansas in first college basketball game at UBS Arena

Julian Champagnie of the St. John's Red Storm

Julian Champagnie of the St. John's Red Storm celebrates a three-point basket against the Xavier Musketeers during a men's basketball game at Carnesecca Arena on Feb 17, 2020. Credit: Steven Ryan

St. John’s will face Kansas on Dec. 3 in the first college basketball game played at UBS Arena in Elmont, the school announced Friday in a news release. Game time and ticket information will be announced at a later date, the school said.

The Islanders, who will be the arena’s main tenant, will play their first game there on Nov. 20 after a 13-game road trip that will last over a month.

The basketball game will mark the 14th time that the two historic programs have met and the first since 2000 when they played in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Madison Square Garden. Since 1950, St. John's is 5-8 against Kansas.

The Red Storm finished 16-11 last season before falling to Seton Hall, 77-69, in overtime of a Big East Tournament quarterfinal. St. John's finished in fourth place in the regular season and had multiple impressive wins, including a 75-73 victory over Marquette on Jan. 31 in Milwaukee and a 70-59 shocker over No. 3 Villanova in Queens three days later.

Red Storm returnees next season include Julian Champagnie, who led the Big East in scoring (19.8 points per game) and Posh Alexander, who was named Big East Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Dylan Addae-Wusu, who averaged 6.5 points per game, also will return.

The trio will be joined by Hofstra transfer Tareq Coburn, who played his home games six miles from UBS Arena for the last three years. He averaged close to 11 points per game for the Pride and helped them to a CAA Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 2020 before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kansas finished 21-9 last season, second in the Big 12, and earned a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament. They lost to USC, 85-51, in the second round of the tournament after beating Eastern Washington by nine points in the first round.

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