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Redemption: St. John’s rallies to beat Hofstra

December 21, 2009

Finally!!!

For some odd reason, the Red Storm has struggled with the Hofstra Pride in recent years, losing four straight after defeating Hofstra 19 times in a row.  On Sunday, the Johnnies got a little revenge, outscoring the Pride 18-1 in the final 6 minutes en route to a 72-60 victory in the semi-finals of the Holiday Festival.  St. John’s will face a good Cornell team in the Championship game tonight at Madison Square Garden.  The Big Red survived a scare from Davidson and held on in overtime in their semi-final game. 

“I definitely feel we’ve taken a big step winning tonight,” said Kennedy, a junior swingman who was a force with 19 points and 15 rebounds for St. John’s. “I know Hofstra had beaten us the four previous times, so we really wanted to just get that hump off our back and off the program. I definitely feel like we’re going in the right direction.”

St. John’s is now off to a 9-1 start, and could crack the national polls which are announced Monday afternoon.  The Red Storm will not take a Big East test until Dec. 31 at Georgetown. 

Coach Norm Roberts had four losing records in his first five seasons. Hofstra, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, won at least 20 games in four of those five years.

“We never really played them at full strength,” said Roberts, who had not faced Coach Tom Pecora’s Pride since losing in the 2006 Holiday Festival final. “Tonight, we made more plays than them.

“We’re in a no-win situation when we play this game. If we win, everybody thinks in their mind that we should’ve won, and that’s not true.”

Charles Jenkins, a junior guard who is the reigning Haggerty Award winner as the top player in the metropolitan area, scored just 8 of his 24 points in the second half for Hofstra. Kennedy helped hold him to the Pride’s only point after Jenkins made a 3-pointer to give Hofstra a 59-54 lead with 6 minutes 57 seconds left.

D.J. Kennedy scored 10 points in the game-closing 18-1 burst, which was fueled by the St. John’s defense. He also did his part to give the Red Storm a 53-41 rebounding advantage.

Dwight Hardy helped pace the Johnnies with 17 points on 50% shooting. 

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