Online Exclusive: Johnnies fall in Holiday Festival Final

If St. John’s was looking for a way to rebound from a tough trip to Hawaii, this was not the way to do it.

Taking advantage of a porous 19 percent shooting percentage from the field by the Red Storm in the second half, Virginia Tech walked away with the Holiday Festival title with a three-point win this weekend.

St. John’s advanced to the championship game with a win over Marist on Friday. Although the Red Storm held a large lead with only minutes left, Marist cut the deficit to make it a close game.

Anthony Mason, Jr., who did not start the first game of the tournament but got the call to start in the second game, played well against Marist, penetrating the lane and kicking the ball out en route to recording four assists in over 28 minutes of playing time.

Marist was unable to sink a last second three-pointer to tie the game as St. John’s got the 62-59 victory.

“Give Marist credit,” said St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts. “They made some huge shots.”

In the championship game, both St. John’s and Virginia Tech were sloppy offensively, as both teams had more turnovers than field goals. St. John’s led at halftime, 22-21, but an 11-2 run to start the half by Virginia Tech gave the Hokies an eight-point lead.

St. John’s failed to sink a bucket from the field for the first ten minutes of the second half, missing its first 13 shots.

“Deron Washington is a good defender, one of the best in the ACC,” Roberts said of the Hokies forward who was on Mason, Jr. throughout the game.

Despite its issues from the field, the Johnnies stayed in the game thanks to heavy fouling from Virginia Tech, as St. John’s took advantage of its shots from the stripe.

St. John’s got to within three points of the lead off a three-pointer by Larry Wright with seconds left in the game, but it was too little too late as Virginia Tech was able to capitalize from the foul line after an intentional foul.

“Every loss hurts the same,” Justin Burrell said.