Dec. 7, 2010
QUEENS, N.Y. - Senior Dwight Hardy scored a career-high 24 points and classmate Justin Brownlee added 14, but it was not enough as the St. John's men's basketball team had a five-game winning streak snapped by St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, 67-66. The Red Storm (5-2) and Bonnies (5-2) battled furiously back-and-forth throughout the contest - and even saw five lead changes in the game's final 91 seconds - but Hardy's final attempt from the corner fell short before a crowd of 4,408 at Carnesecca Arena.
"I told our kids the things that we struggled with tonight are all correctable, and that's the good news. They need to be addressed and there's a sense of urgency because before you know it we'll be in the BIG EAST," said St. John's first-year head coach Steve Lavin. "We've got to improve our free throw shooting - 10-of-20 won't get it done. Give St. Bonaventure credit, they came in on the road and made 18-of-22, 80 percent - that's how you win on the road. We had that stretch where we didn't execute offensively, we weren't prudent with our shot discipline and our shot selection. And the third area was late with our defensive assignments. There were some good things and even opportunities late with some of the steals and scores in transition. But when we needed to get that one big stop at the end, and it often comes down to that, we weren't able to do it."
Hardy's last-second attempt came after St. Bonaventure big man Andrew Nicholson splashed in a 19-foot jumper with 5.2 seconds remaining. The Johnnies held the Bonnies' preseason Atlantic-10 first team selection to two first-half points, but his totals of 19 points and 13 boards helped St. Bonaventure to a 41-30 advantage on the glass, and eventually, the win.
St. John's made 14 steals (29 over the past two games), caused 19 Bonnie turnovers and scored 21 points off of the miscues, but was plagued at the free throw line with a 50 percent effort. The Red Storm entered the contest ranked second among the nation's best ballhandling teams with an average of only 9.5 turnovers per game, and kept with the trend by committing only eight miscues on the night.
Hardy scored St. John's first five points of the first half, and a fast break dunk from Brownlee capped a 13-0 run that gave the Red Storm a 13-2 lead with 15:13 remaining. The Bonnies, however, answered with a seven minute, 15-4 run of their own to tie the game at 17-17. After a pair of treys from Ogo Adegboye and a 3-pointer from Michael Davenport gave St. Bonaventure a lead at 28-25, a Hardy shot from long range opened up an 8-3 run that closed out the frame and gave the Red Storm a 33-31 halftime advantage.
An early second-half spurt keyed by Hardy had St. John's holding a 10-point lead at 47-37 with 10:02 to play, but Nicholson came alive for the Bonnies after the ensuing timeout. With the Bonnies holding a one-point lead with 1:31 to go, a Paris Horne (six points) transition steal and feed to D.J. Kennedy (six points) put the Red Storm up, 64-63. The Bonnies went up again after a pair of free throws by Da'Quan Cook, but Hardy was able to get a left-handed lay-up to fall with 29 seconds left. That set the stage for Nicolson's long jumper, avenging a one-point loss at the hands of the Red Storm from Nov. 17, 2009, in Rochester, N.Y.
The Red Storm heads to Fordham on Saturday, Dec. 11 (7 p.m., YES Network). The Rams are St. John's eighth-most frequently-played opponent in history (STJ leads, 61-20), though the squads have not met at Rose Hill Gym since an 81-58 Red Storm victory on Dec. 7, 2002.