The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

St. John’s Holds Off Fordham in Holiday Festival

The St. John’s men’s basketball team got out to a 16-point second-half lead, and was able to hold off a late rally to beat Fordham 56-50 in the 2011 Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.

Freshman guard D’Angelo Harrison led the team with 15 points and freshman forward Moe Harkless recorded his third-straight double-double for the Red Storm (5-5), who were without head coach Steve Lavin for the fourth game in a row.

Trailing 26-24 with 3:13 left in the first half, the Johnnies ripped off an 11-0 run to go into the break leading 35-26. Junior forward God’sgift Achiuwa put the exclamation point on the run with a slam as time expired. They picked up right where they left off in the beginning of the second half, scoring the first seven points to extend the lead to 16 with 16:53 left.

But just like last year, Fordham did not go quietly, and they cut the Red Storm’s lead to three with the ball with 1:26 left. In last season’s matchup, St. John’s blew a 21 point second-half lead and lost by three.

This year, however, was different. St. John’s made three straight defensive stops, and hit three free throws on the offensive end to close out the game.

“Everybody makes runs in college,” Harrison said. “We could have done a better job of stopping it early. We slowed them down a little bit; we just weren’t making enough shots.”

With the absence of sophomore guard Nurideen Lindsey, who announced that he was transferring on Dec. 8, and junior point guard Malik Stith, who was suspended for the first half for an academic infraction, assistant coach Mike Dunlap was forced to use his starting five for the entire first half, putting him at a disadvantage.

“The bench is your greatest device to teach,” he said. “That element has been reduced.”

All five starters played over 35 minutes for the Red Storm, but they insisted that the extra workload was not the reason for Fordham’s late rally.

“I don’t think it was fatigue,” said Harkless. “We were playing hard D, but we just couldn’t make a shot.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” he added. “We got a W so my energy is pretty high right now. Once I got my second wind, I could keep playing another 40 minutes, probably.”

The win snapped a three-game losing streak. The Red Storm continue their non-conference slate on Dec. 21 when they take on Texas-Pan American at Carnesecca Arena.

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