Storm Watch: St. John’s Pummels Duke

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

We’ll admit it. We have a soft spot for St. John’s over at The College Wire. Mainly, it’s because we know how great for all of college basketball it would be to have a perennial contender in New York City.

On Sunday the entire nation saw St. John’s and Madison Square Garden at its finest as the Red Storm clobbered Duke for a 93-78 victory. The building was rocking as Dwight Hardy led the way with 26 points, and Justin Brownlee put together a monster performance of 20 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists.

The dominant St. John’s performance started right from the opening tip, and by halftime it led 46-25, leaving the Blue Devils in total shock. Although Nolan Smith went for 32 points, there were few bright spots for Duke, which started the game 1-for-21 beyond the arc.

It was just a day for the Johnnies, and for Steve Lavin, it was another huge step towards making the program relevant again.

From The New York Daily News:

This also marked the first signature win for first-year coach Steve Lavin, who with 12 minutes left and his team up by 21 greeted the Johnnies during a timeout at midcourt with arms waving to exhort the cheering crowd.

“You get caught up in the moment of the game,” Lavin said. “(I) wanted St. John’s fans to come to the party (and) support the players on the court. We’ve had this arduous stretch of games . . . and lost five of six. It was just wanting to jumper-cable the crowd and bring energy to our players.”

The win against Duke completes an eight game stretch for St. John’s against ranked opponents. The Red Storm went 3-5 over that period, and while they sit at just 12-8 overall and 4-5 in the conference, they have set themselves up to hit the easier portion of their schedule with a few quality wins under their belt and a lot of momentum.