Red Storm Barnburner

The St. John’s men’s basketball team advanced to the semi-final round of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic by out-shooting the Navy Midshipmen 72-49 at Carnesecca Arena on Nov. 11.

Although the final stat sheet looks good for the Red Storm, the team started slowly. They fell behind 21-12 in the middle of the first half. They allowed Navy sophomore guard Kaleo Kina 13 first-half points and looked as if they would never be able to get the ball down low to seniors Lamont Hamilton and Aaron Spears.

“We didn’t get off to a great start,” said head coach Norm Roberts. “But we stayed tough and we really executed well. That’s the indication of being a good team.”

Things started to turn around for the Storm about the time that senior guard Daryll Hill checked into the game. And it quickly became evident that a different role may be in order for the guy who came to St. John’s with the nickname of “Showtime.” He is not the focal point of the offense anymore. But he no longer needs to be.

“He’s doing what it takes to win,” said Roberts, who still considers Hill to be one of his best players. “If it’s scoring he scores, if it’s passing it he passes it and if its defense he plays defense.”

Hill’s entrance ignited the spark that became a 20-4 run for the Storm and a complete reversal of the flow of the game. He scored eight of his own points on the run while helping the team bear down on defense and allowing all four floormates to record field goals.

“When I come in I’m trying to go in there with as much energy as possible to pick my team up,” Hill said. “Do all the things that I’m supposed to do, without trying to overdue something.”
“Now we got such a good team, I don’t have to do too much stuff to get out of character,” Hill said.

Junior guard Avery Patterson led the team in scoring for the second straight night. He finished with 15 points and shot 4-of-9 from behind the three point line. He was named the New York Regional Most Valuable Player for the tournament, which benefits Coaches vs. Cancer.

The Storm will face their first real test of the season Nov. 16 at MSG on ESPN2 in the semifinal round of the tournament against College Park Regional winner Maryland. The Terrapins hail from a strong ACC conference that contains four teams in the AP Top 25 and scored 102 points in College Park Regional Championship.

“I think that it is exciting for us to have an opportunity, so early in the year, to play where all the teams in America are watching us play,” Roberts said. “I know my guys will be excited and I know they’ll be ready to compete.”