Kennedy bounces back from ejection with 16 points vs. Rutgers
January 28, 2009
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D.J. Kennedy knows a thing or two about leadership.
Consider him a connoisseur of humility and the ‘team’ concept, too.
After he was ejected from St. John’s 71-60 home loss to Cincinnati for a verbal altercation with Bearcats forward Rashad Bishop, Kennedy watched from the bench as his teammates lost the battle to Deonta Vaughn, who torched the Red Storm with 18 of his 23 points following the ejection.
Kennedy knew he let the team down, and apologized to his teammates twice following the loss: once after the game on Thursday night and again then at practice on Friday.
“I think the talk right after the game was bigger than the talk before practice,” Kennedy said, describing the significance of two separate apologies. “After the game everybody was down, because we lost
Luckily for Kennedy, the St. John’s men’s basketball team is a forgiving group, who recognized the sophomore’s importance and significance in the midst of four straight losses.
“They knew I’d bounce back next game,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy also left his teammates with a promise.
“I told them I let them down and that the next game I would step it up,” he said.
Less than 48 hours after the incident, the Red Storm took the floor at Madison Square Garden to take on Rutgers. Kennedy was back in the lineup, and had one of the best games of his career.
Though he shot just 3-8 from the field, he finished with 16 points, including 10-11 free throws. He went 5-6 from the line in the last 2:17 of the game to help quiet a Rutgers comeback.
Kennedy also made an impact on the glass, grabbing seven rebounds in the 70-59 win, and had six assists on a night when freshman point guard Quincy Roberts’ ailing ankle limited him on the floor.
Kennedy’s complete game shined, as he continued his strong defensive campaign in helping stop Mike Rosario, the first McDonald’s All-American in Rutgers history.
He and Paris Horne, who also guarded Rosario, held the star freshman to 2-5 shooting in the first half.
Kennedy had two steals of his own, and Horne intercepted an errant Rutgers pass and fed it to Kennedy on the fast break, a pass he took all the way to the hoop for the easy layup.
“[The win] was important to me, it was important to my team,” Kennedy said. “I thought I let them down. I just wanted make sure we got the W and do whatever I can to win.”