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Horne’s career night earns a second conference win

The Red Storm had 37 rebounds in their 70-59 win over Rutgers on Saturday, but Sean Evans had the most important one of the night.

After a 5-0 run in the game’s final minutes brought the Scarlet Knights to within two points of the Storm at 61-59, Evans grabbed a defensive board off a missed Mike Rosario layup and finished with one of his own at the other end.

Evans scored 11 points despite spending the better part of the first half on the bench due to early foul trouble, but it was Paris Horne that had one of the biggest nights of his career. He established a new career-high with 27 points on 12-13 shooting from the field – his only miss coming on a three-point attempt in the first half.

“He’s more confident in himself and what he can do, but he’s not doing anything he doesn’t normally do in practice,” head coach Norm Roberts said. “We wanted him to be aggressive; I think he got into a really nice rhythm.” Horne started off by scoring six points in the first five minutes of the game.

When asked if he was more satisfied by the 18 points he scored in the first half or the fact that he held Rutgers’ freshman phenom Rosario to just 2-5 shooting in that time, Horne responded: “I didn’t even pay attention to my points. I just know that defense wins games.”

Horne and fellow guard D.J. Kennedy had the assignment of stopping Rosario, who finished with 16 points on
7-16 shooting.

But Rosario wasn’t the Red Storm’s biggest problem in beating Rutgers. St. John’s almost saw an 11 point lead disappear in the waning moments of the game.

Jaron Griffin nailed two key three-pointers that brought the Scarlet Knights within nine, and as numerous fouls and turnovers mounted for the Red Storm, so did comeback points for Rutgers. With just under three minutes remaining, the Scarlet Knights had come back to within two.

As Roberts called two timeouts in the span of 1:19 to kill Rutgers’ momentum, Kennedy demanded the ball be in his hands. He then proceeded to make five free throws to subdue the comeback. Kennedy finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists, a steal and two blocked shots.

“It was probably my best all-around game of the season so far,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy’s impressive stat line came just two days after his ejection from St. John’s 71-60 home loss to Cincinnati, when he and Rashad Bishop were involved in an altercation and had to be separated.

Saturday’s win marked their second in conference and the first in exactly three weeks for St. John’s who, in that span, lost to three ranked opponents. Their last win came on Jan. 3 against then-No. 7 Notre Dame.

“I told our guys in the locker room, this could be a character win,” Roberts said. “We have a lot of character and character guys in our locker room who’ve been dealt some bad cards.”

The Red Storm were finally dealt the right cards on Saturday.

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