Saturday, January 8, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Notre Dame 76, St. John's 61
By Kieran Darcy
WHAT IT MEANS: St. John's sees its five-game winning streak snapped, and drops to 10-4 on the season. It's also the Red Storm's first Big East loss of the season (3-1). Notre Dame, ranked No. 15 in the country, improves to 14-2 on the season and 3-1 in the Big East.
NO CONTEST: Notre Dame, despite playing without third-leading scorer Carleton Scott due to injury, built a double-figure lead midway through the first half, led 44-25 at intermission, and never let St. John's get closer than 13 points in the second half. The Fighting Irish led by as many as 25 -- the game was more lopsided than the final score indicates.
OFFENSIVELY: St. John's looked out of sync throughout, missing chippies inside and being sloppy with the basketball. The Red Storm only turned the ball over four times in their win over Georgetown on Monday, but committed 14 turnovers against Notre Dame.
Justin Brownlee had 19 points, and Dwayne Polee added 10. But Dwight Hardy's string of fine performances ended -- Hardy had just eight points, and took only five shots. Also, Justin Burrell -- who's been a force inside in recent games -- did not score a single point.
DEFENSIVELY: As usual, St. John's was victimized by the 3-point shot -- Notre Dame hit eight treys, including seven in the first half on 13 attempts. Ben Hansbrough had a career-high 26 points for the Fighting Irish, including shooting 4-for-9 from downtown. Notre Dame got open looks all over the place.
WHAT'S NEXT: It only gets tougher for St. John's, which will host undefeated Syracuse, ranked No. 4 in the country, on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Notre Dame will play at Marquette on Monday night.
These two teams will meet again in barely over a week, on Jan. 16 at MSG.