Nov. 23, 2004
Queens, NY - On a night when the University dedicated the court - and the entire arena -to the greatest coach in its history, the St. John's men's basketball had a bit of history turned on them as local rival St. Francis (NY) pulled out a 53-52 win in front of 5,149 fans at what was formerly known as Alumni Hall.
During halftime ceremonies honoring legendary Hall of Fame basketball coach Lou Carnesecca, when the Alumni Hall court was dedicated in his honor, St. John's president Donald J. Harrington, C.M. announced that the University's Board of Trustees made a proclamation during the day that the building would be named in his honor - Carnesecca Arena.
The St. Francis College Terriers would steal the spotlight at the end of the night, as senior guard Tory Cavalieri hit a jumper with 26 seconds left - two of his game-high 26 points - to give the visitors a 53-52 lead. After a timeout, the Red Storm (1-1) would have one more chance, but a jumper from Lamont Hamilton rolled in and out, and a three-pointer from freshman Eugene Lawrence was off the mark, giving the Terriers the win.
St. John's trailed by five points, 50-45, with only 2:17 to play, but a three-pointer from junior Rodney Epperson and back-to-back baskets from freshman Cedric Jackson gave the Red Storm a 52-51 lead with 1:01 to play.
St. Francis (1-1) would call a timeout with just under a minute left and Cavalieri scored the winning basket, giving the Terriers their first win against St. John's since Jan. 21, 1956, ending a 26-game losing streak.
St. John's led, 21-19, after a first half in which both teams struggled from the field. The Red Storm connected on 27.6 percent of their shots (8-of-29), while the Terriers hit only 23.1 percent (6-of-26).
St. John's returns to action on Saturday, playing at Niagara. Tipoff at the Gallagher Center in Niagara Falls is slated for 7 p.m.