opposite directions

For one half, the St. John’s men’s
basketball team seemed poised to pull
the upset over then-No. 3 Villanova
on Saturday.

Junior Dwight Hardy scored
11 points, including three
three-pointers. Redshirt senior Anthony
Mason Jr. made his fi rst start of the
season and even scored four points in
the fi rst half. Rookie Omari Lawrence
was fi nally starting to get his offensive
game rolling.

And most importantly, the Red Storm
led by as many as 11 in the fi rst half and
went into the half leading 38-37 over
the Wildcats.

However, things were too good to be
true as the Johnnies hot shooting turned
cold in the second half and Villanova
took advantage of the opportunity and
defeated the Red Storm 81-71 at
Madison Square Garden.

“We had some opportunities and
we just didn’t convert,” said Roberts.

“I thought our energy level was good, I
though we tried hard and I thought we
got better and we are going to get better
as we come along.”

As well as Villanova played,
St. John’s showed a lot of promise
during the game, causing 20 Villanova
turnovers, despite the offensive troubles.

No one saw the potential in
St. John’s more than Villanova coach
Jay Wright.

“You’ve just got to get that big
[win],” said Wright. “That’s what I said
to our guys about this team. ‘They’re
going to do it.’ We just don’t want it to be
[against] us.”

Hardy scored a team-high 19 points
for the Red Storm (12-7, 2-5), shooting
5-of-9 behind the arc. Sean Evans added
12 points and nine rebounds, while
Mason Jr. and D.J. Kennedy each added
10 points apiece.

Lawrence had one of his best games
of his freshman season, shooting 4-of-6,
fi nishing with eight points. Justin Burrell
chipped in fi ve points and six rebounds
while rookie Malik Stith added four
assists. Forward Justin Brownlee was
not in attendance, having traveled home
because of a death in the family.

As a team, St. John’s shot 39.3
percent and 37.5 percent from three-point
range for the game despite shooting 56.5
percent and 60 percent from beyond the
arc in the fi rst half.

Woeful shooting in the second half
was what did the Johnnies in for the
game. They shot 28.9 percent from
the fi eld and 27.3 percent from
beyond the arc.

“We didn’t sense it coming, I think it
just happened. They started hitting their
shots and we started missing shots,”
said junior Malik Boothe about the
second half. “It is not that we played
bad in the second half. We had the same
amount of energy in the second half,
we just had that one lull and that is
where they took advantage.”

Three Villanova (18-1, 7-0) players
fi nished in double fi gures. Scottie
Reynolds led the team in scoring with
19 points, also adding four assists and
three steals. New York native Corey
Fisher added 18 points. Maalik Wayns
came off the bench to score 16 points.
“You just have to fi ght through
it,” said Roberts. We missed a couple
of shots; they made a couple of shots.

The other thing is that we are playing
against a very good basketball team.
We executed. We played hard.”