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


Fans clad in red roared as the buzzer ended at Madison Square Garden. But they weren’t the supporters of the home team, St. John’s. Red Storm fans seemed outnumbered by the loud Marist following in the small crowd of 5,366.


And for good reason. In its Garden opener, St. John’s dropped an ugly one to Marist, 56-53, on Saturday afternoon.


St. John’s (5-3) led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but Marist (3-4) got back into the game with its biggest strength: three-point shooting. A sloppy performance by both teams allowed the Red Storm to have a chance to tie the game late with a three pointer of its own.


After Marist guard Will Whittington hit two free throws with 24.3 seconds left, freshman Anthony Mason Jr. missed a three from the right wing. Junior Lamont Hamilton grabbed the rebound, kicked the ball out to junior Daryll Hill and he too clanked a brick off the rim to give Marist its first-ever win against St. John’s.


It was hard to take any positive out of this game from a St. John’s perspective. Even the team’s defense, a major strength this season √¢?” opponents are shooting only 36 percent against St. John’s √¢?” struggled when it mattered the most.


“Our identity is to guard,” said a visibly angry St. John’s coach Norm Roberts. "We have to play to our strengths. Defensively, we didn’t make the plays when we needed to.”


Nothing better exemplified that than when the Red Storm was down 51-50 with 59.6 seconds left. St. John’s defenders gave Marist senior Carl Hood a wide-open three, which he promptly drilled to give the Red Foxes a four-point lead and make it a two-possession game.


The Red Storm still held the Foxes to 38 percent from the field, but it only shot 33.3 percent. The Storm out-rebounded them 43-33, but only cashed in on 14 second-chance points, to Marist’s 13. That was more an issue of intensity.


“They just out-hustled us,” said Hamilton, who had 13 rebounds.


Hamilton had 11 points, but felt as if something was missing from his game.


“Some of the shots I felt I should’ve made,” said Hamilton, who was 3-for-7 from the floor. “I should’ve went up stronger.”


Might’ve helped, though Hamilton was not the only problem. Hill shot 6-of-19 √¢?” 0-for-5 from three √¢?” with 13 points. Mason Jr. was 4-of-12, also with 13 points, but at least he hit a shot from behind the arc: he was 3-of-8.


Three-point shots killed the Red Storm from both ends. It shot 26.9 percent from the outside to Marist’s 40 percent. Whittington came up huge with a 4-of-8 three-point clip and ended up with 20 points.


St. John’s actually did hit five threes in the first half, but faced serious defensive lapses throughout, letting Marist get within 26-24 at the half.


“You make shots and then you forget about defense,” said an angry Roberts. “[Then] when we’re not making shots, we play defense.”


The Red Storm’s next opponent is at top-ranked Duke. If it can’t do both of those consistently, it won’t be a happy ride home from Cameron Indoor Stadium.





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