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Rapid Reaction: Arizona 81, St. John's 72

11/18/2011

NEW YORK -- A quick take on No. 16 Arizona's 81-72 win over St. John's on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in the second semifinal of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

What it means: The Red Storm suffer their first loss of the season, in their first game at MSG after winning three games against mid-major competition at Carnesecca Arena last week. For six of the seven players in the St. John's rotation, it was their first game at the Garden; they proved they could play on the big stage, but couldn't close out the more experienced Wildcats (4-0) down the stretch.

The skinny: St. John's coach Steve Lavin was worried about his team displaying some nerves, but the young Red Storm looked comfortable on the big stage from the get-go. They did trail by as many as nine early, 19-10, but went on a 12-2 run to pull into the lead midway at the 9:24 mark. St. John's led by as many as six in the first half, 32-26, but gave the lead back and trailed 44-41 at the break.

St. John's fell behind by seven early in the second half, but responded with a 19-4 run, taking their biggest lead, 66-58, with 7:20 to play. But Arizona recovered from there. Leading scorer Nurideen Lindsey (18 points) fouled out with 4:02 left to play, just after the Wildcats had retaken the lead, and St. John's trailed the rest of the way.

Big nights: Besides Lindsey, D'Angelo Harrison had 16 points for St. John's -- 14 coming in the second half. Moe Harkless had 13 points and 9 rebounds, and Phil Greene had 12 points off the bench.

Solomon Hill led five Wildcats in double figures with 15 points.

Killer stat: Arizona shot 14-for-28 from beyond the 3-point arc -- that is awfully hard for any team to overcome. St. John's was just 3-for-8 from long range.

What's next: St. John's will play Texas A&M on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the consolation game of the tournament. Arizona will take on Mississippi State in the championship at 6:30 p.m. ESPN2 will televise both games.