It was Déj√†-vu all over again for the St. John’s men’s basketball team taking on Brown University Friday night in Queens.
There were 18 seconds left in the second half with the Red Storm up by one, when veteran guard Malik Boothe stepped to the charity stripe and nailed two crucial free throws, putting his team up by three.
The Bears’ last attempt was a missed three-pointer at the buzzer by junior guard Adrian Williams, and St. John’s hung on for a 79-76 victory. It was Boothe earlier in the week that hit two clutch free throws that gave the Red Storm a one-point victory over St. Bonaventure.
Junior forward Sean Evans returned to old form against Brown, posting 14 points and 9 rebounds. Evans was 8-10 from the free-throw line and St. John’s shot a combined 18-20 from the line for the game.
“Free throws is important every game,” Evans said. “I did not really feel any pressure down low, I just got fouled and had to go to the line and knew I had to knock them down. I have been working on it and that’s what I did,” said Evans.
It was a tale of two halves for St. John’s verses Brown on Friday in Queens. The Red Storm at one point had a lead of 15 points with 2:25 left in first half. Guard Dwight Hardy hit four three-pointers in the first half and finished with a team-high 16 points.
The Red Storm blew another big lead by going 1-8 from downtown and shooting only 34 percent from the field in the second half.
“We need to have a better mental attitude, to keep in our heads that no matter what we’re going to get a lead higher and higher and we can’t have latches in the second half,” said Hardy.
Bears forward Peter Sullivan’s three three-pointers and 17-point effort allowed the Bears to rally in the second half. Brown senior big man Matt Mullery’s 6-7 shooting from the field and 16 points eventually cut the St. John’s lead down to one point late in the second half. The Bears shot 70 percent from the field and drained four from long distance in their failed comeback effort.
St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts was content with the close win; however, Roberts feels his team still needs to improve.
“Were giving up too many alleys for guys to score,” Roberts said. “I was upset that we did not guard well at the end of the game. We have to do a better job of defending without fouling.”
The Red Storm travel to Philadelphia next to play in the Philly Hoop Classic at the Palestra against Siena on Friday, Nov. 27 and against Temple on Saturday, Nov. 28.