The game against St. Francis meant a little bit more last year.
On Nov. 23, 2004, St. John’s held the ceremony to rename its campus arena after its legendary former coach, Lou Carnesecca. St. Francis spoiled the moment with a one-point win.
“We were devastated,” St. John’s sophomore Cedric Jackson said, “because that was Lou Carnesecca’s night.”
It might have come about a year late, but the Red Storm got revenge with a 64-50 win over the outsized, undermanned Terriers on Tuesday night at the now-named Carnesecca Arena.
“They told me what happened and what night it was on,” freshman Anthony Mason Jr. said. “We had to redeem ourselves. This is a family thing.”
Mason seems to be catching on to coach Norm Roberts’ philosophy. That philosophy doesn’t include some of the sloppy play exhibited against St. Francis (1-1) though.
Shooting percentages were definitely up from the Maryland-Eastern Shore game √¢?” St. John’s shot 46 percent from the field √¢?” but the Red Storm still turned the ball over the same number of times the Terriers did: 19.
The team didn’t take care of the ball very well, but it made up for it with much better shooting strokes. Junior Daryll Hill had a game-high 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and Mason Jr., who struggled against UMES on Saturday, looked sharp with 13 points.
“They played off me at first,” said Mason Jr., who was 5-of-6 from inside the arc but 0-for-4 from behind the arc. “I guess they saw tape of me from last game.”
For the second straight game, rebounding was one of St. John’s keys. The Red Storm out-boarded the Terriers 44 to 29 and had more offensive rebounds (19) than its neighbors from Brooklyn had defensive rebounds (18).
“When you’re not as tall and not as big,” St. Francis first-year coach Brian Nash said, “you have to be a position team and fight and claw.”
St. John’s (2-0), normally not as big as its Big East opponents last year, is used to that. But it had no problem out-muscling the Terriers, who Nash said were “playing with chips on their shoulders.”
“The majority of our roster are New York City kids,” Nash added. -“They think they should’ve been at St. John’s. Those are dangerous situations.”
Things almost got a little dangerous on the court, as Jackson and junior Lamont Hamilton got into altercations with St. Francis players. Hamilton was hit with a technical foul.
“I messed up big time,” Hamilton said.
Added Jackson: “They got in my head a little bit. I lost my composure.”
It might have been a trap game for the Red Storm last season √¢?” and it was.
Things have changed from a year ago though. St. John’s was sturdy inside on defense this night: Hamilton had four blocked shots and sophomore Dexter Gray added three. St. Francis was held to 32 percent from the field.
Offensively, the team showed the ability to knock down jumpers consistently, an improvement over last season. Hill, Mason Jr., and Gray all showed they could consistently connect from mid-range.
Now if only the Red Storm could find a 3-point gunner. Freshman guard Ricky Torres, lauded in high school for his long-range prowess, did not play. St. John’s was 1-for-10 from three.