Tag Archives: men’s basketball

Robert Morris upsets St. John’s in first round of NIT


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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An unsatisfying season for the St. John’s men’s basketball team ended with a sour taste.

Despite being a No. 1 seed, the Red Storm were upset by the Robert Morris University Colonials in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), 89-78, in front of a small crowd of 1,027 fans at Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday, crushing the Johnnieshopes of making a deep postseason run. 

The Colonials, which also defeated top-seeded University of Kentucky in last year’s NIT initial round, opened the game with a 19-2 run in the first five minutes, led by Northeast Conference player of the year Karvel Anderson, who finished with a game-high 38-points, and teammate Lucky Jones, who had 25 points.

St. John’s never led or tied the game once Robert Morris started scoring, and seemed as though the team was still down about not being selected to play in the Big Dance.

“I mean we were pretty upset about the fact that we didn’t make the [NCAA] tournament, but they just started hot and everything that went up, seem like it went in,” junior guard Jamal Branch said.

Branch wasn’t joking. The Colonials shot 48.2 percent from the field for the game and 50 percent (16 of 32) for three.

But in the second half, trailing by 26 points with nine minutes remaining, St. John’s executed a 24-6 run for the following six minutes that chopped the Colonials’ lead down to just eight points. The overly silent crowd turned on like a switch during the comeback and possibility of a win.

St. John’s rifle squad, three point specialists Max Hooper and Marco Bourgault, paced the Red Storm’s surge. Hooper finished with a career-high 18 points, shooting 6 of 12 from behind the arc.

And with under a minute remaining, Branch hit four three pointers to draw the Red Storm within seven points, but the Johnnies had run out of time.

St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin hinted maybe things could have been different if the freshman star point guard Rysheed Jordan, who was out suffering from tonsillitis, was available, but said he told the team to focus on next season.

“Tonight was disappointing because we didn’t bring forth the effort or purposefully play that would have allowed us to be competitive,” Lavin said. “Next season we’ll be the veteran group, probably returning as many lettermen as any team in the league. Next year obviously the goals, aspirations will be ratcheted up, because of what we return.”

 

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St. John’s men’s basketball shaky in first exhibition game of the season


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

St. John’s University men’s basketball head coach Steve Lavin promised that this year the Red Storm would do something special.

But it certainly didn’t look that way in the Johnnies’ 2013-2014 pre-season debut, an exhibition game against the Division II San Francisco University State Gators on Saturday.

The Red Storm struggled throughout the game, shooting just 41.3 percent from the floor, while allowing the Gators to shoot 51.6 percent. The Johnnies, however, managed to escape with an 82-80 win.

“Clearly there are a number of aspects both defensively and offensively that we need to clean up,” Lavin said. “We went down the list of areas that we need to improve upon and then also gave them credit for having the resourcefulness to find a way to win on a night where things weren’t going well for us, and that’s an important trait.”

The Red Storm squeaked out the win due to junior guard D’Angelo Harrison’s big shots with seconds remaining. Harrison, who led the Red Storm by scoring 29 points, hit a mid-range jump shot over two defenders with 16.7 seconds left in the game to give St. John’s an 81-80 lead.

After a defensive stop on the ensuing play, Harrison was fouled and knocked down one of two free throws to expand the lead. With just 4.8 seconds remaining, the Gators took a final three-point attempt, but missed what would have been the game-winning shot.

“I don’t care what division it is, it’s hard to come back, especially the way they were playing and executing,” Harrison said. “It was good that we pulled it out.”

With 8:02 left to play, the Red Storm was trailing 73-65 and were forced to play catch-up. The Johnnies put together an 8-2 run to make the score 75-73 with just 5:54 remaining.

God’sgift Achiuwa, who returned after sitting out a year, lead the comeback with four points, two rebounds and one block. In his first game since the 2011-2012 season, Achiuwa totaled nine rebounds and eight points in 20 minutes.

Besides Achiuwa, newcomers senior Orlando Sanchez and freshman Rysheed Jordan played well throughout the game as well. Sanchez had nine points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Jordan scored 16 points and had a big play in his college debut.

Down 80-77, Jordan ran the length of the floor and hit a crucial layup to pull the Johnnies within one point with 1:53 remaining.

“He was hype but at the same time he was calm,” junior guard Sir’Dominic Pointer said of Jordan. “He came out ready to play and he had a great game tonight. He came out and showed us what he could do. I expect a lot from him this season.”

With just six days remaining until the Red Storm face No. 20 Wisconsin on the road for their season opener, the Johnnies have just one more exhibition game against Humboldt State on Monday.

While the Red Storm believe they will be ready for the season opener, Lavin feels that it will take a while before they fully gel together.

“We are still two to three months away from playing our best basketball,” Lavin said. “But I think we could surprise some people along the way and get some wins, and maybe do better than some would think in that next two months.”

 

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D’Angelo Harrison named Big East Rookie of the Week


| brennison@queenscourier.com

After averaging more than 20 points and seven rebounds, St. John’s freshman phenom D’Angelo Harrison was named the Big East Rookie of the Week.

The guard led the Red Storm (8-7, 3-2 Big East)  in scoring in both the team’s games last week — a loss at MSG to No. 11/10 Louisville and a win at Cincinnati, snapping the Bearcats seven-game winning streak.  Harrison played in 79 of a possible 80 minutes during last week’s action.

For the week Harrison averaged 21 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

The Texas native leads all Big East freshmen in scoring — 16 ppg — and is 12th overall in the conference.

Harrison is the first player to earn this honor since Cardozo graduate Daryll Hill in February 2004.

The Johnnies next play at No. 25/24 Marquette (12-4, 1-2) on Wednesday, January 11 at 7 p.m.