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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Arizona 81, St. John's 72

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- A quick take on St. John's 81-72 loss to No. 16 Arizona on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, in the second semifinal of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

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 this big stage, but they 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 showing some nerves, but the young Red Storm looked comfortable from the get-go. They did trail by as many as nine early, 19-10, but went on a 9-0 run to tie it up from there. 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, then went on a 19-4 run, taking their biggest lead, 66-58, with 7:18 to play. But Arizona recovered from there. St. John's 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 of them coming in the first half. Moe Harkless had 13 points and a team-high nine 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-29 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 game at 7 p.m.