Game #14: St. John's 65, U Conn 81

Boxscore

Alternate title = Last Night’s Blowout.

Last night, St. John’s Red Storm went to the University of Connecticut’s Gampel Pavilion to be used as target practice. Bad passes, poor shooting, and inept help defense helped the Johnnies lose by 16 points in a game that wasn’t even close after about 6:00 of game time.

It would be nice to think that this thrashing by the Huskies is a one time thing, but U Conn tends to whoop up on the Red Storm like the first person killed in a splatter-filled horror movie—dismissively easily, thoroughly brutally.

From the Newsday article, a quote from AJ Price, the man whose laptop-stealing has been overshadowed in announcer’s eyes by his medical issues (he’ll always be a thief who got to keep his scholarship to me):

"We looked at the scouting report," point guard A.J. Price said. "We saw they had six or seven freshmen. We knew how we were last year. We knew we could get them rattled."

….the most charitable of the Red Storm competitors was not a freshman but a senior point guard, Eugene Lawrence. He had four turnovers in a concentrated period of the first half when UConn took a 21-point lead before power forward Justin Burrell went on a personal 9-0 run for St. John's.

"Eugene had a bad night and he knows that," Roberts said. "He made some ill-advised passes. [But] he's our leader. He's the heart and soul of our team. He'll play better."

Price had a career-high 25 points.

U Conn coach Jim Calhoun felt sick and spent the second half in the locker room, but was well enough to speak to his team after the game. Jerome Dyson also had a career best night with his steals. From the NY Daily News:

Jerome Dyson vs St John's from AP Photo

"They kind of made it easy for me," said Dyson, who finished with 12 points and a career-best nine steals. "They were basically throwing lazy passes and I was able to run right behind them and get the easy steal, but some of them just landed in my hands. Some of them were like they rolled them right in front of me."

"He's a terrific defender, but I also think we threw it to him," Storm coach Norm Roberts said. "There weren't even times he needed to get it. He probably was surprised he was getting hit with the ball."

….While Roberts frequently has noted that his eight freshmen are learning on the job, he said, "We played really young tonight."

That comment was probably a dig at some of his veterans, too. Lawrence had all of his four turnovers in the first half and Mason, a junior forward, had three turnovers. Lawrence's performance stood in contrast to the play of freshman backup Malik Boothe, who had seven assists and no turnovers.

"Malik is going to play more," Roberts said afterward.

Roberts said the poor fundamental play - "playing too loose with the ball," he called it - doesn't have him down.

"I don't know if it makes me feel bad about me," he said. "I think UConn had something to do with it."

Those passes certainly were lazy. Now from the NY Post:

The Red Storm - the league's third-lowest-scoring team - had shot 51 percent against Cincinnati, and hoped that was more epiphany than aberration. But last night, Price held senior guard Eugene Lawrence to two points on 1-of-6 shooting with four turnovers. Dyson had six steals in the first 8:16, playing the passing lanes to perfection.

"They made it easy for me," said Dyson, who added a dozen points. "They were basically throwing lazy passes and I was able to run up right behind them and get the easy steal."
Apparently so. On one sequence, Dyson stole the ball, went in for a layup and got fouled. He missed the free throw, but stole the ball back and dunked, part of an 11-2 run that pushed the lead to 25-14.

The Hartford Courant:

"I felt like I was in the layup line," Dyson said. "Just kept catching the ball and going to the basket."

And also:

"Coach [Jim Calhoun] told us they turn the ball over a lot more than they have assists," Dyson said. "That is one thing I knew from the start. There would be a chance for steals. We went over a lot of their plays. We kind of knew what they were going to try to do. They wanted to get the ball to [Anthony] Mason a lot."

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