Sunday, January 2, 2011
Reaction: St. John's 67, Providence 65
By Kieran Darcy
I had a family function last night, so could not watch the St. John's-Providence game live. Just got done watching the tape:
WHAT IT MEANS: St. John's wins it fourth game in a row and improves to 9-3 on the season. More importantly, the Red Storm are now 2-0 in Big East play for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. And both of those wins came on the road -- a tremendous start in conference play.
Providence drops to 11-4 on the season, and 0-2 in Big East play.
DON'T FORGET PARIS:Paris Horne faced a difficult transition at the beginning of this season. The senior guard started 32 of St. John's 33 games last season, but new coach Steve Lavin elected to demote Horne to the second unit -- surely a tough pill to swallow, although he handled it well when speaking to the media earlier in the season.
Horne only played 16 minutes on Saturday night, but he was the Red Storm's MVP, because of two critical plays he made on back-to-back possessions late. With the game tied at 62 and exactly one minute remaining, St. John's had the ball, looking to take the lead. With four seconds remaining on the shot clock, Horne -- who had only taken two shots in the game -- received a kick-out pass from Justin Brownlee and drained a 3-pointer from the left corner to give St. John's a 65-62 lead.
Then, on the ensuing possession, with Providence's Marshon Brooks penetrating into the lane, Horne stepped in on help defense and took a charge on Brooks, giving the Red Storm the ball back and putting them in the driver's seat. What an outstanding job by Horne, being ready when called upon in critical situations late in the game.
"Paris is always in the gym early and stays late, he works hard on those perimeter drills. He deserves it," Lavin said after the game. "In terms of basketball karma, if someone has earned the right to make that shot, it's Paris Horne."
BEST SUPPORTING ACTORS:Dwight Hardy had yet another excellent game, playing all 40 minutes and scoring 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field. After a slow start, Hardy has now scored 20-plus points in five of his past six games.
Also, Brownlee had 14 points (7-for-13 shooting), Justin Burrell had 13 (third straight game in double figures), and Dwayne Polee had six points and seven rebounds.
St. John's continued its fine shooting from the field as a team, making 29 of its 55 shots from the floor, a 52.7 percent clip.
LINGERING ISSUE: Starting point guard Malik Boothe, who has been bothered by a sore hamstring the past few weeks, played only seven minutes Saturday night -- all in the first half. Boothe has 39 assists and only 13 turnovers this season -- a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is outstanding. But Hardy looked fine handling the point -- he still found open looks for himself, and committed just two turnovers in 40 minutes.
WHAT'S NEXT: St. John's will play a huge game on Monday night at the Garden, against No. 9 Georgetown on Big Monday on ESPN at 7 p.m. -- ESPNNewYork.com will be there.