With the Big East season just around the corner and fresh off a win against the nationally-ranked Demon Deacons of Wake Forest, the St. Johns mens basketball team got some easy work in Saturday afternoon, soundly drubbing the Quinnipiac Braves, 97-60, before a sellout crowd of 6,008 at Alumni Hall.
The game was a blowout from the start, with the Red Storm (9-2) racing out to a 9-0 lead before the Braves (3-8) scored their first points of the day, a layup by Astoria native and Christ the King graduate Kason Mims with 14:00 remaining in the first half.
A Willie Shaw free throw moments later made the SJU lead 10, 12-2, and it only grew from there. In no time the lead was 20, 30-10, when Hatten hit all three of his free throws after being fouled by Jared Grasso from behind the arc. And at the half, St. Johns was up by 31, 47-16.
I thought the first half was exceptional on our part, especially defensively, said head coach Mike Jarvis. When you get up 30-something points the normal tendency is to relax. I guess we did a little bit in the second half. One of these day were going to play for 40 minutes and I cant wait to see that day come.
I was very much surprised by the score at the half, the coach added. Weve seen them play and they played a lot of good teams tough. We were expecting a tough game today. The first half I think deflated whatever confidence they had.
The Braves tried to make a game of it in the second half, playing even with the Johnnies over the first 10 minutes and then cutting into the lead and getting within 25 with 9:23 remaining. But St. Johns woke from its semi-slumber quickly, expanding its advantage to 38 when Marcus Hatten scored with 5:39 remaining.
Soon after Jarvis emptied his bench as the Red Storm rolled to a 37-point win.
Hatten led the way with 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 9-of-10 from the line. He also had five steals, four assists and three rebounds. Anthony Glover added 19 points and eight rebounds, Willie Shaw scored 18 points with seven rebounds and three assists and Alpha Bangura had 10 points and four rebounds.
Mims finished tied for the team lead with 12 points, along with Jeremy Bishop and Bill Romano. Mims, a sophomore guard, also had four steals, four rebounds and two assists.
St. Johns shot a sizzling 76.2 percent in the second half and 57.7 for the game. They beat the Braves on the boards, 20-26, and forced 19 turnovers.
The victory may be the last easy win of the season for St. Johns, which entered the Big East season Wednesday against Pittsburgh (11-1) and hosts West Virginia Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The team will then host Miami at Alumni Hall on Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m.
I feel we got a lot of confidence coming into Big East play, said Hatten, a junior college transfer entering his first year of Big East play. Im ready. I live for stuff like this.
Notes: Sophomore Kyle Cuffe was injured in practice Friday, taking a shot to the right eye, which forced the forward to not dress for Quinnipiac. Jarvis said Cuffe will be evaluated this week and could miss anywhere from a few days to a week.
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.
©2002 Community News Group
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