Unspoken revenge came Thursday for the St. John’s men’s basketball team against Rutgers, who kept the Johnnies (15-12, 6-8 Big East) out of the conference tourney last season. The Scarlet Knights (10-16, 3-10) saw the game come down to the last minute but could not keep up with St. John’s down the stretch, losing 60-55. When St. John’s guard Eugene Lawrence was asked to comment on what he remembered most about Rutgers last season, he simply said: “Quincy Douby.”Last season, St. John’s would have entered their first post season game since 2003 if it was not for Rutgers’ guard Douby, who connected on six of nine threes and finished with 36 points as Rutgers won 82-70. “Last year we weren’t able to get that win that would have made the difference,” said Lamont Hamilton before the game. “This year we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
“We’re more talented, a little older and we know what it takes to win,” Aaron Spears added.
It was a battle the whole 40 minutes. But it was the clutch shooting of one of the new “talents” that seized the win. Avery Patterson, with just under a minute left to play, hit a three off an assist from Anthony Mason, Jr., after Mason’s baseline rebound, to break the tie and spark an 8-3 run. The Scarlet Knights were not able to regroup and fell to the Johnnies.
The win gives St. John’s its best record since the 2002-03 season and puts them a step closer to seeing their first postseason action since 2003, a great accomplishment for a team whose seniors have never seen postseason play.
It was all the more fitting that LL Cool J’s throwback “Mama Said ‘Knock You Out'” played while the Johnnies warmed up. One could not help but think about the message they have been trying to get across for the last two and a half years, slowly climbing up the ladder back to greatness.