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January 1, 2011

St. John's Goes 2-0; Top Friars

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)- Dwight Hardy scored 21 points and Justin Burrell added 16 as St. John's survived a late scare to pull out a 67-65 victory over Providence on Saturday night.

On the game's crucial two possessions, Paris Horne hit a wide-open 3-pointer with the score tied and 28 seconds on the clock, and Providence's Marshon Brooks committed an offensive foul on the ensuing possession.

Brooks scored 20 points for the Friars and Vincent Council added 14 points and six assists.

St. John's (9-3, 2-0 Big East) kept Providence (11-4, 0-2) off the scoreboard until the game's fifth minute, but the Friars promptly put together a 10-0 run capped by an alley-oop pass launched three-quarters of the court from Council to Brooks.

St. John's responded with a 16-2 run and made 14 of its 28 attempts from the field in the first half, shooting 50 percent to Providence's 32.1 percent (9 of 28). The Red Storm entered halftime with a 28-24 advantage, Providence's worst first-half total of the season.

St. John's continued its sharp shooting in the second half, and 11 points in 3 minutes from Hardy put the Red Storm up by as many 12 points. The game seemed headed for an ugly finish when Providence's Duke Mondy stepped out of bounds after catching a Hardy airball and then didn't get the call he wanted after being knocked to the ground on a subsequent possession.

The referees stepped in to break up some light contact between Mondy and several St. John's players.

A remarkable string of Red Storm turnovers then resulted in 10 straight Friars points in under two minutes, including five by Gerard Coleman on a three-point play and a deft steal and layup, giving Providence a one-point lead with 4 minutes to play.

With the score tied and just over 2 minutes on the clock, Brooks blocked a Justin Burrell dunk, and Council scored on the ensuing fast break.

St. John's quickly responded to tie the game back up, and Horne hit his 3-pointer with 28 seconds remaining to put the Red Storm up by three points with one meaningful possession left for the Friars. But Brooks was called for an offensive foul on a drive to the basket, and St. John's escaped with the victory.

The Red Storm narrowly outshot the Friars 52.7 percent (29 of 55) to 43.9 percent (25 of 57) for the game and held a narrow rebounding advantage, 31-29.

Next up for St. John's is No. 9 Georgetown on Monday, while Providence will next face No. 6 Pittsburgh on Tuesday.


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