March 10, 2009For the first time in five seasons, the St. John’s Red Storm won a postseason game, stunning Georgetown in the first round of the Big East Tournament 64-59.
Despite a season-ending injury to superstar forward Anthony Mason, Jr. in November and freak injuries to both Malik Boothe and Justin Burrell, the Red Storm have continued to fight through adversity and overcome every obstacle to come their way this season. Their reward is their first victory in their first conference tournament game since 2003.
“I’ve told them, here’s the moment,” head coach Norm Roberts said. “You’re either going to define the moment, or you’re going to let the moment define you. And I’ve been telling our guys the last three weeks, do not let the moment define you. You can define the moment and these kids defined the moment today.”
The Red Storm were carried on the back of forward Sean Evans, whose 12 points and 13 rebounds in the midst of a 12-0 Georgetown run in the second half lifted the Johnnies at all the right moments.
Evans said that even with St. John’s legends Lou Carnesecca and Chris Mullin on hand for the game, and even though he had been bothered by flu-like symptoms in recent days, his “tunnel vision” enabled him to focus on the task at hand, another Johnnies upset of the Hoyas, this time with more dire circumstances.
In addition, D.J. Kennedy and Paris Horne bounced back from anemic offensive performances against Notre Dame Friday. Kennedy scored 14 points while contributing four rebounds, three steals, and a block. Horne had a prolific scoring afternoon in the shadow of Evans, with 23 points on 7-17 shooting, including a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line.
The Johnnies got off to a rough start offensively, scoring just nine points in the game’s first ten minutes.
Of St. John’s 30 first half points, 27 came from a combination of Kennedy and Horne. Only a Malik Boothe three-pointer provided the other source of scoring in the opening half.
Chris Wright scored 14 points for Georgetown, and Jesse Sapp’s two three-pointers kept the Hoyas in the game down the stretch. Greg Monroe, the eventual Big East Rookie of the Year, scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in just under 29 minutes before fouling out midway through the second half.
St. John’s defeated Georgetown for the second time in the last week, this time ending the Hoyas’ postseason conference dreams. The Red Storm beat Georgetown 59-56 in overtime last Tuesday, the first overtime meeting between the schools.
“It’s like Coach always says,” Boothe said, “Anybody can beat anybody on a given day.”
The Red Storm will take on fifth-seeded Marquette tomorrow at 2 p.m. from Madison Square Garden. The Golden Eagles defeated the Red Storm on Feb. 14 73-59 in Milwaukee.
“We haven’t been dealt good cards but these kids continue to fight,” Roberts said.