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The morning media afterglow: St. John's Red Storm beats Marquette

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The city's buzzing a little more after the 80-68 win against the Marquette Golden Eagles.

The fans are excited in person, on the message boards, on Twitter.

We're getting to know a little of what it feels like to have relevant basketball in New York City, a team that doesn't win just by luck, but on the strength of their skills.

After you are done reading the postgame recap from last night, take a look at what's being said about the St. John's Red Storm:

SB Nation NY: Take Another Look - St. John's Basketball Is A Top-5 Big East Team
In the last four contests, senior guard Dwight Hardy, who was named Big East Player Of The Week Monday for the second time this season, has averaged 27.75 point per game. Hardy has propelled the Johnnies to a tie for fifth place with the Villanova Wildcats in the Big East standings. As of Wednesday morning, in a power rankings scenario, there's no way you can honestly place 'Nova (20-6, 8-5), which had lost two straight before edging the Seton Hall Pirates Tuesday night, 60-57, above St. John's. What does that mean? It means that the Red Storm are a Top-5 team in the nation's best conference.

NY Post/ Mike Vaccaro: Vac's Wednesday Whacks on Johnnies' journeys, Hofstra's Jenkins and boos for Pujols
"We don't want to take our foot off the pedal," said Dwight Hardy, who in the last four games is averaging nearly 28 points and scored exactly that number last night. "[Pitt] will be a great opportunity for us to get them at the Garden. Everyone knows we play well there. It would be a wonderful opportunity if we can beat them."

Here's the thing, though: it isn't hard getting up for the marquee matchups, even if it may be hard winning them. What separates good teams from interesting ones is what happens when the games are played a bit off center stage away from the spotlight. The Johnnies may well have been able to survive a lost midwestern swing through Cincinnati and Milwaukee, their RPI and strength-of-schedule numbers are that strong. But they did more than survive the trip: they took their level of play to a whol other level.

More, including video highlights, below the fold.


NY Daily News: Dwight Hardy's 28 points carry St. John's to third straight win, an 80-68 victory over Marquette
This one ought to do it.

All St. John's should need after Tuesday night's 80-68 Big East road win over Marquette at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee is to not stumble badly, and the Red Storm will be on its way back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.

Johnny Jungle: Punching the Golden Ticket
Playing on the road for the second time in three nights following their upset of then-No. 9 Connecticut, the Johnnies (16-9, 8-5 in the Big East) snapped a 45-year schneid with an 80-68 victory over Marquette; (15-11, 6-7) the first over the Golden Eagles since February 26, 1966. Four players had double-figure scoring efforts for the Red Storm last night, led by Dwight Hardy’s game-high 28. The Storm are now 8-0 this season when at least four players tally ten or more points. D.J. Kennedy added 15, with Justin Brownlee’s 11 and Justin Burrell’s 10-point, 12-rebound effort accounting for the other bright spots in a game designated as a must-win for St. John’s in order to preserve its chances of returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.

Rush the Court: ATB: Charles Jenkins Shows His Pride From Deep…
The Johnnies. We have to hand it to Steve Lavin’s coaching performance this season. He’s managed to take a group of talented, experienced kids who had underachieved throughout their careers and turned them into a group that is finally an inexorably playing to its potential. With three wins in the last six days, including another nice 80-68 win at Marquette this evening, SJU is approaching its first NCAA Tournament bid in nearly a decade. The Red Storm do not excel at anything other than forcing turnovers (18 tonight for Marquette), but they hustle, claw and defend with a ruffian’s mentality befitting their NYC attitude. Good for them.

NY Post: St. John's step closer to NCAA tourney bid -
Kennedy's layup capped a 9-1 spurt that gave St. John's a 47-46 lead. Butler answered to give Marquette its final lead before Hardy and Kennedy took over for good. Hardy, the Big East's player of the week who has averaged 27.8 points in his last four games, hit a 3 that gave St. John's a 56-52 advantage and Kennedy followed with six straight points.

"Dwight is the best pure shooter I've coached," Lavin said. "He's playing with confidence, it looks like he can drop-kick the ball in the Atlantic Ocean." Marquette never came closer than seven the rest of the way.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: St. John's 80, MU 68
With the Red Storm up, 56-52, MU managed to get off just one shot in a roughly 2-minute span. The Golden Eagles wound up turning it over three times, with Junior Cadougan putting up an airball to cap the Golden Eagles’ lone possession that didn’t end with a giveaway.

St. John’s, meanwhile, kept its foot on the gas, with Kennedy scoring on a dunk, layup and pair of free throws to make it 62-52. It was at that point the boos started raining down from the announced crowd of 17,270, and they did nothing but grow louder as the bulge grew to 70-57 with 4:40 left. The Golden Eagles would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way, and the Red Storm hit 10 of 13 free throws over the final 2:27 to close out the game.