St. John’s downs the DawgsDecember 10, 2009
St. John’s suffocated the Bulldogs with their defensive pressure en route to a 66-56 victory in game one of the SEC/Big East Invitational at Madison Square Garden. Junior Dwight Hardy led the Red Storm with 12 points and D.J. Kennedy finished with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. The Johnnies forced Georgia into just 36% shooting from the floor.
The night got off to an awkward start before the game even started. D.J. Kennedy, Paris Horne, and Sean Evans surprisingly were not in the starting lineup.
“We have a rule that everybody has to be on time,” St. John’s coach Norm Roberts said of why Kennedy, Paris Horne and Sean Evans weren’t in the starting lineup. “They were three minutes late, and it is not a big deal, but everyone has to be accountable. I thought those three guys did a great job of really turning a negative situation into a positive.”
The Red Storm (7-1) pulled away from a 28-25 halftime lead by making eight of their first 10 shots from the field in the second half. Hardy’s 3-pointer, the Red Storm’s third in the 20-11 run, made it 48-36 with 13:28 to play. St. John’s never looked back, and led by as many as 16.
Justin Brownlee added 10 points for St. John’s, which shot 49 percent from the field (25 of 51) and 50% from behind the arc. Trey Thompkins had 19 points for the Bulldogs (4-4), who had won three of their last four.
All 10 players who saw action for St. John’s scored and its backups outscored the Georgia reserves 31-9.
“Total team effort tonight,” said coach Norm Roberts after the game. “We struggled shooting early, but we kept at it.”
Junior Rob Thomas made his season debut after missing the first 7 games with a groin injury. He finished with 3 points in just 8 minutes.
St. John’s resumes play Sunday against Fordham at Carnesecca Arena. Game time is 4 pm.