Nov. 21, 2005
QUEENS, N.Y. -
The St. John's men's basketball team (1-0) takes on area opponent St. Francis (N.Y.) (1-0) on Tuesday at Carnesecca Arena in Queens. The Red Storm looks to avenge a 53-52 loss at the hands of the Terriers suffered 364 days ago. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the contest will air live on Radio Disney 1560-AM, with Mike Crispino, Brandon Tierney and Tarik Turner calling the action. The radio pregame show begins at 7:05 p.m.
The Red Storm is coming off a season-opening 77-40 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday. For the second-straight season, St. John's opened with a win under head coach Norm Roberts, and the 37-point victory was the largest for a Red Storm team since 2002. Roberts was able to use a balanced lineup against the Hawks, as nine players logged more than 10 minutes of action and 12 different players got into the scoring column. St. John's limited UMES to 30.6 percent shooting and 40 points, the lowest Red Storm opponent output since 1997.
For the Red Storm on Saturday, sophomore forward Dexter Gray netted a game-high 16, coming off the bench to make 7-of-9 field goals. Junior co-captain Lamont Hamilton scored nine and grabbed 13 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass, to help St. John's to a 57-33 advantage on the boards. Preseason All-BIG EAST guard Daryll Hill led all scorers with a game-high tying 14 points, going 8-for-8 from the free throw line and dishing five assists. Sophomore Cedric Jackson netted 12 points with five rebounds, sparking the team in a reserve role, while guard Eugene Lawrence scored seven points, grabbed nine rebounds (six offensive), tallied four assists made four steals. Rookie Anthony Mason Jr. drew his first start in his collegiate debut, scoring six with a block and four offensive rebounds. Fellow newcomer Aaron Spears (5 points, 4 rebounds) got the start at center.
Coach Roberts and members of the Red Storm team met with the media on Monday to discuss the matchup with St. Francis.
Head Coach Norm Roberts
On the Red Storm's focus following the UMES game:
"Obviously, we've talked about focusing in on shooting the basketball. We talked about how we had quite a few defensive breakdowns where UMES scored off our mistakes, where we either gambled, we didn't helped when we should've helped, so we had some very good teaching points from that perspective."
On St. Francis:
St. Francis is a very good program. They've been a double-digit winning team for a long time. I think we're young and our program is trying to get better. I don't think we can take anybody lightly, no matter what. No matter what people said about Maryland-Eastern Shore, we didn't take them lightly. At this stage of the year everybody is ready to play, everybody is still learning, everybody is still young and still learning to try how to win. We're on that boat with everyone else. We're just trying to learn how to compete well on a consistence basis."
On the St. Francis game last year:
"We made a ton of mistakes in that game, and we had an opportunity to win that game at the buzzer and missed a put-back. I think our guys do remember that. We don't really harp on stuff like that, but it does get their attention."
On the inside depth of the Red Storm:
"We have a lot more help inside. Phil has really improved over the summer, gotten bigger and stronger. I think Aaron Spears is going to add a lot to us inside. You didn't really get a chance to see our inside play, which is going to improve over time, in the game against UMES because muddied the game up. Tomas [Jasiulionis] will also add something to that, he hasn't played much because he's hurt, but he has the length, he's long. When you are 6-11 you don't have to jump that high to get a rebound. But we got quite a bit of help inside."
On the St. Francis matchup:
"I want to see us play with the same intensity. Obviously, we need to pay a little more attention to detail as far as screening, as far as taking care of the basketball. Don't be sloppy with the ball, don't take chances that we don't have to take. Just stay focused defensively throughout the shot-clock. If we can do those things and rebound the basketball, we'll have a good chance to win the game."
On how the team has been preparing for the game:
"We've been practicing hard, following up with scouting reports, and listening to every detail that coach gives. We have to just give 110% percent, come out and play hard everyday."
On the UMES game:
"It was a good game, and I think I had a good game. I was doing everything the coaches were telling me: they wanted me to rebound, I was rebounding, and every opportunity I had to score, I was scoring."
On Coach Roberts' lessons for the team:
"He told us that, before we even started playing games, that we need to get a mentality about ourselves that no matter who we play, whether it be Maryland-Eastern Shore or Duke or Connecticut, that we come out and play with the same intensity. Just always come out and do the little things and everything will take care of itself."
On the team's outlook:
"We're just taking every game one game at a time. We're just staying level-headed and just treating every team like they were a top-ranked team."
On his game:
"There's always stuff I can work on. I try to bring more energy to the game when I'm in there and more energy to the guys. I try to get everyone to pick it up a little bit more and get the game going."