Nov. 28, 2010
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - St. John's shot 64.0 percent (16-for-25) in the second half to rally from a 10-point halftime deficit and win its first Great Alaska Shootout title with a 67-58 triumph against Arizona State. Justin Brownlee, who was named the Shootout's Most Outstanding Player as well as the player of the game, had 20 points to lead the Red Storm in scoring for the third-straight contest and Dwight Hardy added 14 points, all of which came in the second half of action.
"Our defense and pressure became more aggressive in the second half. The five guards made the difference," said head coach Steve Lavin. "We were opportunistic in transition in terms of making steals and converting them into layups. With the five-guard line-up, we were able to get out on their shooters and get some runouts in transition from our half-court defense as well."
Paris Horne added 11 points for the Red Storm (4-1) and Malik Stith scored eight of his 10 points in the second half as the squad closed out the game on a 25-9 run to claim its first regular season tournament title since the 2005 Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival.
Ty Abbott scored a game-high 22 points for the Sun Devils (3-2), while Trent Lockett added 10 points.
Trailing 51-45 with 6:02 remaining in regulation, St. John's put together a 10-0 spurt that started with six points in a 15-second span. The run started when Horne made the first of two free throws before a miss on the second resulted in a rebounding foul on Lockett. After Malik Boothe made his first try and missed his second, Horne was there for the tip-in. On the ensuing ASU possession, Stith stole the ball and cruised in for a layup that tied the game at the 5:48 mark. Stith then swiped the ball from Keala King on the next play and scored again to give the Red Storm their first lead of the night.
Hardy then gave St. John's a four-point lead with a pair of free throws, but Kyle Cain made a layup to cut the deficit to 55-53. Stith, though, delivered the dagger moments later when he banked in a long 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.
A Hardy 3-pointer gave the Red Storm a 61-55 advantage with 3:05 remaining and the Sun Devils would draw no closer, failing to score again until a Jamelle McMillan 3-pointer with two seconds left.
Brownlee averaged 17.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in the three games and shot 66.7 percent (20-for-30) from the floor en route to earning the Most Outstanding Player honors. Hardy (13.0 ppg) and D.J. Kennedy (7.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg) were also named to the all-tournament team.
St. John's is the fourth BIG EAST Conference team to claim a Shootout championship, joining Seton Hall (1988), Syracuse (2000) and Marquette (2001 & 2005). Current BIG EAST schools Louisville (1982) and Cincinnati (1999) also have Shootout titles prior to joining the league.
2010 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team: Dwight Hardy, St. John's; Jarrod Jones, Ball State; D.J. Kennedy, St. John's; Damian Lillard, Weber State; Trent Lockett, Arizona State; Matt Massey, Southern Utah; Jamelle McMillan, Arizona State; Rayvonte Rice, Drake; Casey Robinson, Alaska Anchorage; Taylor Rohde, Alaska Anchorage. Most Outstanding Player: Justin Brownlee, St. John's.
St. John's returns to Carnesecca Arena and hosts Wagner at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1.