Cook sets school record in blowout win

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Cook's 17th assist came with 3:34 remaining in the second half, a length-of-the-court pass to a streaking Willie Shaw, who laid it in for the basket. The former record was held by Cambria Heights native and fellow Catholic High School League alum Mark Jackson, who tallied 16 assists Feb. 3, 1986 against Providence.

When Shaw scored, Cook knew he had set the school mark, as a wide smile broke across his face and he pumped his right arm in the air.

Stony Brook coach Nick Macarchuk was more than impressed with Cook's performance.

"Omar Cook is the real deal," Macarchuk said. "I don't know what his weakness is. He's quicker than Kenny Anderson and he's stronger, at this stage, than [New Jersey Net] Stephon [Marbury]. I think he's as good as any of them."

The freshman out of Christ the King took the compliments in stride.

"I came up under a lot of great guards - Mark Jackson, Boo [Harvey], Erick [Barkley]," Cook said. "I'm just glad to be in the same category. It's an honor to be compared to them."

It was far from a flawless performance, however, as Cook again struggled from behind the arc, hitting on just 1-of-7 three point attempts and settling for eight points. Cook, who had 11 assists and no turnovers at the break, coughed up the ball four times in the second half. Still, it was hard for head coach Mike Jarvis to find fault with his young star.

"He's right where we would like him to be," Jarvis said. "He's a special player."

Led by Cook, St. John's jumped right on Stony Brook from the outset and never let up. Freshman Willie Shaw, who finished with a game-high 22 points, scored 11 of the Red Storm's first 13 points in the opening five minutes of the game, as St. John's ran out to a 15-6 lead, which widened to 16 - 24-8 - by the 11:27 mark of the first half, forcing a Stony Brook time out.

Stony Brook recovered, somewhat, but never got close to catching St. John's, which saw its lead balloon to 21 points when junior power forward Anthony Glover scored with just two seconds remaining in the first half.

"We just didn't defend all night and we didn't rebound," Macarchuk said. "They just kicked our behinds on the backboards."

St. John's outrebounded Stony Brook 45-25 and 16-3 off the offensive glass. Abe Keita finished with a team-high six rebounds, while Glover, Shaw, Donald Emanuel and Sharif Fordham finished with five apiece.

The Seawolves pulled to within 16 when senior Rob Hartman, a Jackson Heights native out of Archbishop Molloy, converted the old-fashioned three-point play at 15:42 to make the score 59-43. St. John's, however, quickly got its second wind and a 10-4 run made it 73-46 with 9:15 to go in regulation.

Even when Jarvis emptied his bench late in the game, the Seawolves could do little to close the gap as Jack Wolfinger, Emanuel and walk-ons John Park and Jon Scheiman all got into the scorers' column.

"I thought we played fairly well and I think this is another game that will help this team grow," Jarvis said. "What I see is daily improvement."

Only walk-on Christian Diaz, who saw action in the final minute, did not score for St. John's. Shaw led with 22, followed by Glover with 18, senior co-captain Reggie Jessie - showing no ill effects from a recently injured heel - with 15, Cook with eight, Fordham with seven, Wolfinger and Kyle Cuffe with six apiece, Emanuel with three, Parker and Alpha Bangura with two and Scheiman with one.

Stony Brook was led by Leon Brisport with 18 points, followed by Hartman who tossed in 15.

The win improved St. John's to 2-1 on the season. The Red Storm will next take the floor Saturday at 2 p.m. when they host the Niagara Purple Eagles at Alumni Hall.

Notes: St. John's announced Friday that 6-foot-11 freshman center Mohamed Diakite was declared eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Diakite, a native of Africa, had been out with a broken left hand injured during practice earlier this month. His return is expected sometime in December.

Fellow freshman center, 7-foot-3 Curtis Johnson, sat out the Stony Brook game after turning an ankle in practice, said St. John's Director of Media Relations Dominic Scianna.

Prior to the game, St. John's raised a banner commemorating the team's 2000 Big East Tournament championship.

The team's win over Stony Brook extended its winning streak at Alumni Hall to 23 games, tying a record set from 1975-77 and 1990-93 for the second best in school history.

Posted 7:13 pm, October 10, 2011
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