SJU blazes past UAB into Final Four

St. John’s continued towards winning its sixth National Invitational Tournament with a 79-71 quarterfinal win over Alabama-Birmingham at Alumni Hall March 27.

For the third time in as many NIT games, it was a different Johnnie that led the team to victory.

After Tim Doyle and Marcus Hatten made big plays against Boston University and Virginia, respectively, Grady Reynolds picked the game against his home-state school to have a career night.

The Alabama native had a career-high 14 points and 14 rebounds to help advanc St. John’s to its 15th NIT Final Four.

Reynolds teamed with Anthony Glover and Abe Keita to take advantage of UAB’s lack of size. Glover had 16 points and Keita tied a career-high with 11 rebounds in 15 minutes.

It was a wild, circus-shot by Glover that sealed the victory of St. John’s.

As the Blazers’ Gabe Kennedy fouled the senior forward underneath the basket, Glover tossed the ball straight up in the air and it came down through the net, setting off the crowd of 3,227. After the made free throw, the Storm had a 67-60 lead.

“I don’t think it is coincidental that we started playing our best basketball when Glover and Reynolds started playing together,” St. John’s Head Coach Mike Jarvis said.

The Blazer backcourt of Eric Bush and Morris Finley combined for 48 points to keep their team in the game, and forced Marcus Hatten, who was suffering from the flu, to commit 10 turnovers.