Dec. 6, 2007
1952 NCAA Finalists
The Redmen, as they were known, needed to beat Coach Everett Case's team in order get a chance to avenge an 81-40 loss to Adolph Rupp's Kentucky Wildcats, who defeated them earlier in the year. Rupp's squad routed Penn State in its NCAA opening round game, 82-54. After falling behind early, St. John's, led by Dick Duckett's outside shooting, surged back to take a 28-25 halftime lead. In the third period St. John's wrapped things up, outscoring NC State 19-8. In the end it was St. John's 60, NC State 49 with four St. John's players hitting double figures. Bob Zawoluk was the high scorer for St. John's with 12 points, followed by Duckett and Jack McMahon, who each had 11 apiece. Jim Davis added 10, flicking in five set shots.
In the second round the speculation was that it would take a miracle for the Redmen to upend the Wildcats. Frank McGuire's boys took the court hoping to keep it respectable. For a change, St. John's came out relaxed from the start. In their first meeting against the Rupp men down in Lexington, St. John's shot just 16.7 percent going 10-for-60; in Raleigh, SJU shot 24-for-53 (45.2 percent). St. John's took the early lead and never looked back. Zawoluk and McMahon were sensational in their scoring efforts. Zawoluk set a new NCAA scoring record with 32 points in the game. Ronnie MacGilvray won over the crowd with his rebounding and stifling defensive play.
The spark generated by the unbelievable Kentucky triumph carried over to the next game. St. John's had a heart-stopping 61-59 win over favored Illinois in Seattle, Wash. The following night in the championship game, Kansas' Clyde Lovellette personally brought the high-flying Redmen back to earth. The massive center broke the NCAA record for points set days before by Zawoluk with a 33-point performance. The Jayhawks went on to defeat St. John's, 80-63, in the NCAA championship game to capture the crown.
1985 NCAA Semifinalists
The wins earned St. John's the right to advance to the West Regional in Denver, Colo., and a meeting with Kentucky. Mullin netted 30 and Willie Glass contributed down the stretch to lift the Redmen to an 86-70 win. That game marked the final contest for Kentucky Coach Joe B. Hall.
The Elite Eight matchup between Lou Carnesecca's St. John's squad and Jim Valvano's NC State team was a back-and-forth affair that earned the tongue-in-cheek moniker "Spaghetti Western" from the sportswriters. Mullin scored 15 of his 25 in the second half, finding an answer for every Wolfpack run. NC State hung close until the Redmen managed a 10-point lead with 1:22 to play, and shortly after Carnesecca allowed it to sink in - St. John's was headed to the 1985 Final Four.
"With five seconds left in the game, I looked up at the clock and kept thinking, `We're going... we're going.' I am very much elated to think I'm finally going after 1,000 games," said Carnesecca at a postgame press conference. "When I'm going to my grave, this I'll remember."
Patrick Ewing and Georgetown stood between St. John's and the title game, which the Redmen had not reached since 1952. The rivalry was intense, as St. John's had defeated the Hoyas earlier that season in Landover, Md., to take the No. 1 national ranking. Georgetown won the next two meetings, once at Madison Square Garden that snapped the Redmen's 14-game conference win streak, and once in the BIG EAST Tournament title game.
The Hoyas would prevail, 77-59, ending the storybook season for St. John's but giving Redmen fans a campaign to remember always.
1943 NIT Champions
1944 NIT Champions
1959 NIT Champions
1965 NIT Champions
1989 NIT Champions
2003 NIT Champions ***
The St. John's men's basketball team entered its March 2 game with perennial national power Duke with a 12-12 record. Things weren't looking bright for the Red Storm, who had lofty expectations after qualifying for the program's 27th NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001-02.
But on that day, with a sold out Madison Square Garden crowd and a CBS national television audience watching, St. John's pulled off the upset, topping the Blue Devils, 72-71. Senior guard Marcus Hatten sealed the win with a free throw with no time left.
And that free throw carried the Red Storm to one of the most exciting stretches of basketball in the 97-year history of the program, as St. John's won nine of its last 10 games, capping the season off with a 70-67 win over Georgetown in the NIT Championship game.
The Red Storm finished the season 21-13 overall, and made what would be a difficult finish an exciting ride.
After a brilliant 5-0 start to the season, the Red Storm struggled at the start of the New Year, and entered the final weeks of the season with a 12-12 overall record, and a 5-9 mark in the BIG EAST Conference.
Four-straight losses in February left the team scrambling. The Red Storm used the motivation from the Duke win to win their final two regular season games - at Miami and at home against Rutgers - before upsetting Notre Dame in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament.
A loss to Boston College in the quarterfinals was diminished by a bid to the NIT, where the team reeled off three-straight wins behind a raucous student cheering section at Alumni Hall - topping Boston University, Virginia and UAB - and advancing to Madison Square Garden for the NIT Final Four.
Hatten scored 24 points and Ingram added 16 as St. John's topped Bobby Knight and Texas Tech in the semifinals, advancing to face league rival Georgetown in the finals. In that game, Hatten had 22 points, Ingram added 19 and junior college transfer Grady Reynolds - a major player down the stretch - scored 13 points and grabbed a career high 14 rebounds as St. John's won its sixth NIT Championship in program history.
*** -- St. John's 2003 NIT Championship was vacated by the NCAA in 2006.
1983 BIG EAST Champions
St. John's played 33 games, the most in school history at that time, won more games than any team prior (28), and entered the postseason for a record 38th time. After tying for first during the regular season in the BIG EAST, the team won three straight games in the league's championship tournament to take home the crown.
The team beat defending NCAA champion North Carolina to open the season, then won 13-straight games, giving them a school-record 14 consecutive season-opening victories. Along the way, they won the ECAC Holiday Festival Tournament for the sixth time, and the third time in four years.
Carnesecca was named Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, the New York Basketball Writers' Association and several other organizations. Chris Mullin was the unanimous selection for BIG EAST Player of the Year, and the New York Writers' Haggerty Award. In addition, he became the third player to score more than 1,000 points in two seasons, connecting on nearly 60 percent of his shots from the field.
David Russell's rugged inside play gave the St. John's offense a double haymaker and this combination was brought to explosive power by the cool play of swingman Billy Goodwin which matched the fiery competitiveness of Kevin Williams. Floor play was orchestrated by Bobby Kelly and the backbone was supplied by the center couple of Jeff Allen and Bill Wennington, with Ron Stewart and Trevor Jackson in the wings.
In the BIG EAST Tournament, St. John's beat Pittsburgh in the first round, and then topped Villanova in the semifinals. The championship game saw Mullin score 24 points in an 85-77 win over Boston College.
1986 BIG EAST Champions
In just his second season at St. John's, Walter "The Truth" Berry earned national player of the year honors - the second straight year a St. John's player had done so, as Chris Mullin took the award during the 1984-85 campaign - and led the team to a 31-5 record and the 1986 BIG EAST Tournament Championship.
Berry had, perhaps, the best single season ever in St. John's history in 1985-86, averaging 23.0 points and 11.1 rebounds, while earning award upon award. He was selected as the recipient of the John Wooden Award as the nation's top college player, the Adolph R. Rupp Trophy, the Associated Press' honor, and was the Kodak Player of the Year from the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He scored a still-intact St. John's record 828 points that season and grabbed 399 rebounds, which ranks as the fifth-best single season mark.
The starting five that season - Berry, Ron Rowan, Willie Glass, Mark Jackson and Shelton Jones - ranks among the best in school history. They started every game and accounted for 86 percent of the minutes played, but had outstanding play from reserves like Marco Baldi, Terry Bross, Steve Shurina and John Hempel. Rowan finished the season second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.2 points and 4.4 assists; Glass averaged 13.3 points and 5.6 rebounds; Jackson added 11.3 points and a school record 9.1 assists; and Jones averaged 8.5 points and 5.7 rebounds.
The Redmen had rolled through the regular season, the only blemish a loss to Duke (71-70) in the Big Apple NIT semifinals. They lost only two conference games - to Boston College and Syracuse - by a combined total of six points and finished the regular season tied for first with a 14-2 mark.
And while Berry was the leader of the team, it was Rowan who came through in the Redmen's biggest moment, sinking a 14-foot baseline jumper with eight seconds left and giving St. John's its first lead of the game at 70-69, in a win over Syracuse in the BIG EAST Championship. Berry blocked Dwayne "Pearl" Washington's shot at the buzzer as St. John's won the second of its three BIG EAST Tournament titles.
2000 BIG EAST Champions
The nets were cut, and the celebration began. Players and coaches hugged family members, staff and each other. The trophy was carried around the floor and adored by one and all.
The night of March 11, 2000 was not just any night for the St. John's men's basketball team. The Red Storm's 80-70 win over Connecticut at Madison Square Garden gave the team its first BIG EAST Tournament Championship since 1986, but it was also the fitting end to a hectic, and at times, challenging season.
It was fitting because this St. John's team had overcome obstacles time and time again throughout the season. And just when people were counting the Red Storm out, they came back - each time.
The team was tough and resilient. While small in numbers - there were only eight scholarship players and head coach Mike Jarvis used a seven-man rotation for the most part - the team jelled and played without fear.
That never-quit mentality was never more evident than during a stretch in late February when the Red Storm toppled Syracuse, Connecticut and Duke in consecutive games. The wins over the Huskies and Blue Devils marked the first time in recorded history that the national champion (UConn) and national runner-up (Duke) had lost to the same team back-to-back.
The BIG EAST Tournament was equally exciting. St. John's used a late run to beat Villanova in the opener and then came a heated rivalry with Miami. In a tight game, sophomore forward Anthony Glover - who had missed his previous five attempts - hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to give St. John's a 58-57 win over the Hurricanes and a spot in the championship game.
In a rematch of the previous year's championship game, Bootsy Thornton - who earned tournament MVP honors - scored 22 points to lead four players in double figures in an 80-70 win over Connecticut.