Two in a row by the St. John's Red Storm, who pull out the first Big East road win of the season in dramatic fashion. Down 1, DJ Kennedy needed to hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left to give the Red Storm the lead... and the win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He did his job, the team defended Tory Jackson's attempts in the waning seconds, and the squad is 4-8 in conference, 14-10 overall, heading into a home contest against rival Seton Hall (who sport a similar record - 5-7 in BE, 14-9 overall).
Even if the Fighting Irish looked rudderless at times without Luke Harangody, looking dapper in the blazer and polo there next to who I assume to be Mike Broghammer, it's a nice win for the team. Is it enough to start talking about a turnaround? Probably not. As stated in the pregame, and in our 5 Questions with Black and Irish Basketball, Notre Dame's indifference to defense has become ridiculous. And their lack of depth hurts them when injuries happen.
Justin Burrell - benched for part of the first half for some minor indiscretion - came on a little sloppy (blowing a dunk when the ball slipped from his hands), but made some nice shots and drew fouls. He scored 12 points in 20 minutes on 7 shots, and picked up 4 rebounds. He fouled out defending old AAU teammate (and Queens native) Tyrone Nash.
Dwight Hardy earned his nickname "Buckets" with a 5-7 performance from the 3-point line. Anthony Mason looked bouncy at times, scoring 12 points on 6 shots; and DJ Kennedy was not at his best but still made plays - what this blog loves about #1 in red. Malik Boothe had 5 assists, 7 points, and I swear that it happened - he hit a 3 pointer and two other nice open jump shots.
All in all, there was a lot of what we love to see about these players. And apparently the players hoisted Coach Norm Roberts and carried him in the locker room. These kids are trying hard, and great to see them stick together like fam.
St. John's and Notre Dame played what visually looked like a good Big East game. The pace was slow and deliberate enough that it looked like both teams had to work for their shots, the offenses scored frequently enough to make it seem like their work paid off. St. John's offense was uncharacteristically crisp (as it was against Louisville) and there were contributions up and down the lineup. Notre Dame's lack of depth showed, as the team only played 6 players for extended periods (more than 5 minutes apiece). To their credit, their defensive efficiency was slightly better than their league average, but at over 1.1 points per possession, that's not saying very much.
Take a look at the 5 Keys of the game recap and links to media articles about the game after the jump.
5 Keys of the Game Recap:
In many ways, this and Louisville are among the team's best performances this year. While a non-Harangody Notre Dame might be a bottom 4 team in the Big East, Tim Abromaitis is a star shooter, and the team around him can make some plays. A good job of the Red Storm doing what they needed to do to win.
Score. The Red Storm shot 40% of their shots from beyond the arc, and hot 50% of those shots; and hit almost 47% of their shots inside the arc. Their effective field goal percentage was 58%, they had an offensive efficiency of 111.3, they scored 69 points on 62 possessions... any way you slice it, they scored the basketball extremely well. A.
Guard the Perimeter. Though Abromaitis led the team with 24 points (on 11 shots) and Hansbrough added 13, there were stretches where the Irish had to go inside (to the effective Ty Nash) because the other two couldn't get good shots off. Credit St. John's for solid perimeter defense in stretches. That said, one would have liked to see the team defensively dominate a star-dominated team missing their star. B.
Get Back/ In Position On D. Generally, St. John's did not allow the Irish to catch them off-guard and out of position. The transition D was very good. A-.
Don’t Underestimate. St. John's played hard throughout, and came out with good energy. A.
Maintain Control/ Concentration. St. John's didn't turn the ball over much, and maintained composure through some tough Fighting Irish runs and in a hostile environment, even hitting their free throws. Good job. A.
Notre Dame Official Site: Post Game Quotes
Black and Irish Men's Basketball: Post game
NY Daily News: DJ Kennedy Leads Johnnies Past Irish
Associated Press: St. John's edges Notre Dame 69-68
South Bend Tribune: Irish pinned with damaging loss
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette: Irish fall to Red Storm
Notre Dame Observer: Harangody's absence felt in loss