March 5, 2008
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Anthony Mason, Jr. wore a headband during the first half of Saturday’s game against Seton Hall in tribute to Eugene Lawrence, who was playing his last game in Carnesecca Arena.
Perhaps he should consider keeping
After scoring just three points in the first half, Mason, Jr. went on a tear late in the game, recording 24 points and carrying St. John’s to a thrilling 65-62 victory on Saturday. With the win, the Johnnies chances at a Big East Tournament berth are still alive.
“[I wore the headband] for Geno,” Mason, Jr. said. “I think that was having [my shooting] off, though.”
Although Seton Hall used a pair of 10-0 runs – one coming late in the first half and the other late in the second half – to take 55-45 lead late in the game, the Red Storm outscored Seton Hall 20-7 over the final five minutes to secure the victory.
“Our guys really hung in the game when things didn’t go right for us,” said St. John’s coach Norm Roberts. “The kids never gave up and kept fighting.”
Playing in Carnesecca Arena for the first time since the Providence game Feb. 9, St. John’s had one of its best shooting performances of the season in the second half, shooting 55 percent from the field and a blistering 88 percent from behind the arc.
“We really shot the ball well tonight and I think we did it because we were in rhythm,” Roberts said.
Seton Hall appeared to be going into the half with a 10-point lead before Paris Horne and D.J. Kennedy combined for two late points in the closing seconds of the first half. The momentum carried over to the second half, as St. John’s scored four quick points in the opening minutes to pull within two possessions, forcing Bobby Gonzalez to take a time-out.
The Red Storm and Seton Hall stayed neck-and-neck until, with less than eight minutes left, the Pirates went on a 10-0 run to take a 52-43 lead. But St. John’s hung in as Mason, Jr. and Wright combined for five consecutive three-pointers to give St. John’s a 60-59 lead.
“Me and Larry were just knocking down good shots,” Mason, Jr. said. “Any time we’re open coach wants us to shoot the ball.”
Justin Burrell hit two free throws to give the Johnnies a three-point lead, but Seton Hall’s Jamar Nutter sunk a three-pointer with ten seconds left to tie
After the inbound pass Malik Boothe drove into the paint and kicked the ball out to Mason, Jr., who buried a three with two seconds left.
“It just felt good and I was wide open,” Mason, Jr. said. “I didn’t know it was going in, but it felt good.”
St. John’s is now tied for twelfth with DePaul and Providence in the Big East, the last spot to get into the postseason, but DePaul holds the tiebreaker as it defeated both St. John’s and Providence.