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SJU hangs close with Duke

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St. John's responded by taking the game out of the World's Most Famous Arena and brought it to the New York City asphalt. They played hard-nosed defense, they slowed the game down to a grind, they were physical and hung with the mighty Blue Devils for the entire 40 minutes. They played the same way against North Carolina State and Virginia Tech from the Atlantic Coast Conference and won both times.But in the game's defining moments Saturday afternoon, it was Duke that made all the plays and got all the calls in a 58-47 win in front of 16,290."They played their hearts out and played the way they've played all year," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They're a scrappy basketball team that tries to muck everything out. Their staff has done an excellent job for them."No. 7 Duke (21-4) entered the Garden a bruised and battered bunch. Coming off two grueling wins over Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, an already thin Duke team was dealt a huge blow when starter Sean Dockery suffered a season-ending knee injury three days earlier.Still, led by Lou Melchionni, who had a game-high 16 points and was the only Duke starter to score in the first half, the Blue Devils went on a 21-4 run late in the first half and was up 28-17 at the break. Duke led by as many as 13 in the second half but St. John's would not go away.Almost defiantly, the Johnnies battled back. They got within five on a Cedric Jackson layup off a turnover and then four on a Lamont Hamilton layup. But both times Daniel Ewing and J.J. Redick, who shot a combined 5-of-24, buried big 3-pointers to extend the Blue Devils' lead."I don't think anybody could play him any tougher than Daryll played him today," St. John's coach Norm Roberts said of Daryll Hill's defense on Redick. "Daryll stayed underneath him, he got through screens well, (Redick) never caught the ball and got in a comfortable position to really shoot it."St. John's (9-16) again got within five on a Hamilton dunk with 6:05 left, but Redick (13 points) followed with a pair of free throws and Ewing knocked down a foul line jumper, staring down a pair of North Carolina fans who were taunting him from the front row.Daryll Hill's 14-footer brought the Red Storm to within seven, 52-45 with 1:38 left but after Hamilton stole the ball from Melchionni - the Blue Devils' 23rd turnover of the game - he was called for a controversial charge on the baseline after a collision with Reggie Love."They played really hard on J.J. and they were double-teaming Sheldon (Williams)," Krzyzewski said. "They had a good game plan and we didn't react well to it." Providence 86, St. John's 75. In their final home game, seniors Ryan Gomes scored 23 points and Tuukka Kotti had 17 points and junior point guard Donnie McGrath had 22 to lead Providence Tuesday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. St. John's, which lost its third straight, extended its road losing streak to 21 games.The Red Storm had more turnovers (11) than points (7) and trailed 25-7 before Daryll Hill scored his first points of the game with 10:12 left in the first half. The former Cardozo star had 18 points in the first half and the Johnnies trailed 42-31 at the break.The Red Storm got within four, 48-44 on a Lamont Hamilton dunk early in the second half. But Randall Hanke helped put the Red Storm away, with his first career double-double (17 points, 13 rebounds). The freshman forward also had 6 blocks.Hill led St. John's with 26 points, but was held scoreless for the first 13:24 of the second half. Hamilton and Eugene Lawrence had 14 points apiece and Phil Missere added a career-high 13 points.St. John's concludes its 2004-05 season Saturday at Madison Square Garden against No. 22 Villanova. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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