New York Colleges: Malik Boothe

Rapid Reaction: St. John's 72, USF 56

March, 5, 2011
3/05/11
10:26
PM ET


Recap | Box score

NEW YORK -- A quick take on St. John's 72-56 win over South Florida on Saturday night at Carnesecca Arena in Queens.

WHAT IT MEANS: On Senior Night, St. John's finished off what has been an impressive regular season at 20-10, and 12-6 in the Big East. The Red Storm finish tied for third in the conference with Louisville and Syracuse, but will be the No. 5 seed in the Big East tournament because they lost head-to-head against both. This is St. John's first 20-win season since 2002-03, and the first time it has collected 20 wins in the regular season since 1999-2000.

South Florida finishes the regular season at 9-22 overall, and 3-15 in the Big East. The Bulls will be the No. 15 seed in the conference tourney.

THE SKINNY: St. John's trailed for most of the first half; the Red Storm took the lead briefly late at 30-29 on a Dwight Hardy trey, but a Shaun Noriega rebuttal gave South Florida a 32-30 lead at intermission. St. John's had a difficult time attacking USF's 2-3 zone -- the Johnnies didn't shoot a single free throw in the first half.

The Johnnies attacked the zone more aggressively in the second half -- they were in the bonus with 13:48 remaining in the game, and were 18-25 from the foul line. The game remained tight through the first 10 minutes -- in fact, South Florida led 47-44 with 9:36 left. But St. John's eventually wore down USF and pulled away, propelled by timely treys by Hardy and Paris Horne.

SWEET EMOTION: The pregame ceremony honoring the nine St. John's senior players, along with four senior managers and former player Rob Thomas, was touching. Justin Burrell was the most emotional of the players, tearing up and slamming his fist to his chest as the crowd cheered him. A sold-out crowd of 5,602 chanted for each player as he was introduced, and chanted "Thank you, seniors!" at the end.

ONLY APPROPRIATE: This was one of St. John's most balanced efforts of the season offensively. Four players -- all seniors -- finished in double figures. D.J. Kennedy led the way with 16, Hardy had 14, Justin Brownlee had 13 and Horne had 11. Sean Evans added nine points, and Malik Boothe had five assists. St. John's is 10-0 this season when four or more players crack double figures.

WHAT'S NEXT: St. John's has a bye in the first round of the Big East tournament -- the Red Storm will play the winner of No. 12 seed Seton Hall versus No. 13 seed Rutgers on Wednesday afternoon at approximately 2:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. South Florida will play No. 10 seed Villanova on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Lavin, St. John's players are psyched

November, 2, 2010
11/02/10
7:55
PM ET
The anticipation for Steve Lavin's first season as head coach of St. John's continues to build, as the school hosted its annual basketball media day on campus Tuesday afternoon.

Lavin and all his new players were made available to speak with reporters, and everyone sounded very excited for the upcoming season, which begins at 2 a.m. ET on Nov. 16, when the Red Storm play at St. Mary's (Calif.) as part of ESPN's 24-hour College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.

"Well, it's been a couple weeks now practicing with the team, and we're encouraged by the progress," Lavin said in his opening remarks on Tuesday. "And yet, at the same time, we balance that with understanding that we have a really difficult schedule -- the most difficult schedule in terms of my career."

Besides the grueling 18-game Big East slate and the season opener at St. Mary's, St. John's also travels to Alaska for the Great Alaska Shootout over Thanksgiving weekend, hosts defending national champ Duke in January, and plays at UCLA (Lavin's former team) in February.

"As far as getting accustomed to how [the new coaches] want us to play. I think we've been working really hard," said senior point guard Malik Boothe, who started all 32 games last year. "We're ready for a special season."

St. John's will play one exhibition game prior to the start of the regular season -- Saturday night versus Westmont College at Carnesecca Arena. Tipoff is 7 p.m., and ESPNNewYork.com will be there.

Also, keep an eye out for ESPNNewYork.com's three-part St. John's season preview, which will be published on the website next week.

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