NEW YORK -- A quick take on St. John's 72-54 victory over No. 11-ranked Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
WHAT IT MEANS: St. John's improves to 11-5 on the season, and 4-2 in the Big East. The Red Storm end a two-game losing streak, and pick up their second win against a top 25 team in the past two weeks. They also get revenge on the Fighting Irish, after losing to them 76-61 last Saturday in South Bend.
Notre Dame drops to 14-4, and 3-3 in the conference.
SUNDAY SLUGFEST: This game was a knock-down, drag-out affair from the opening tip. St. John's led 26-19 at halftime, after 20 minutes of play that featured 29 fouls and 25 turnovers (14 of them by Notre Dame). Things opened up a bit offensively in the second half, but St. John's maintained control. The closest the Fighting Irish got was within six points, briefly.
D-FENSE! D-FENSE! The Red Storm won this game on the defensive end of the floor. Notre Dame came in averaging 77 points per game, and shooting 45 percent as a team from the field. On Sunday, the Fighting Irish scored 23 points under their average, shooting 16-for-39 (41 percent). (Going 19-for-32 from the foul line didn't help the Irish, either.)
St. John's looked determined on D from the opening minute of play, with active feet and very active hands in the passing lanes. The Red Storm forced 20 turnovers in the game.
BIG BENCH: Steve Lavin went 10-deep on Sunday (not including the two end-of-bench players that came in for the closing seconds), and several reserves made major contributions -- particularly in the first half, when bench players scored 16 of St. John's 26 points.
Malik Boothe, who began the season as a starter but has been hampered by a nagging hamstring injury, scored 14 points -- his first time in double-figures since the season opener at St. Mary's on Nov. 16. Malik Stith, who did not even get into the game in St. John's win over Georgetown a week ago Monday, had three points, two rebounds and three steals -- all three steals coming in the first half.
WHAT'S NEXT: St. John's tough January schedule continues -- the Red Storm will play at No. 17 Louisville on Wednesday night. Notre Dame hosts Cincinnati on Wednesday.