Red Storm Routs UConn, 73-51, To Advance To BIG EAST Championship Second Round|
March 9, 2010
March 9, 2010, Jim A. O'Connell, AP - A game of redemption for Red Storm junior forward Sean Evans came on the biggest stage, helping St. John's to run away from Connecticut, 73-51, on Tuesday. Flying high off of a triple-overtime victory over DePaul on Friday night to close out the regular season, the Red Storm rode the emotional wave to its second BIG EAST Championship Tournament first round victory in as many chances.
In doing so, the Red Storm topped UConn (17-15) for the first time since February 2002, ending a nine-game losing streak at the hands of the Huskies. The loss was UConn's fourth in a row, and amounted to the Huskies' worst beating of the season (22 points).
Evans' 19 points and 10 rebounds gave him the 10th double-double of his career, leading St. John's (17-14) to the victory. For a second straight season the Red Storm beat a traditional power in the first round of the tournament - STJ defeated Georgetown 64-59 last year - and the second-round opponent will again be Marquette. Last season the Golden Eagles beat St. John's 74-45.
"I know it was a good win," said St. John's junior point guard Malik Boothe, who had eight points and nine assists. "But we also can't celebrate on this win. Last year we were in the same position going against the same team in the next round, and they pretty much had their way with us. We have to have the same focus tomorrow as we had today."
St. John's had the focus, energy - any intangible you want to name. The Red Storm were up by 10 points midway through the first half, by 13 at halftime and the Huskies were never closer than eight the rest of the way.
"UConn's teams are great and physical and I thought our guys did a great job of getting after them," St. John's head coach Norm Roberts said. "I don't think there's any team that plays harder than my team. My guys play hard every night. But I also think what they're doing right now is they're playing not only hard but they're playing with their hearts."
Paris Horne and Justin Brownlee had 13 points each for St. John's, which shot 50 percent from the field (29-of-58) against the team that was No. 1 in the conference in defensive field goal percentage (38.9).
Kemba Walker had 12 points for UConn, which shot 37.5 percent (21 of 56) from the field, was 6 of 18 from the free throw line and committed 20 turnovers.