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November 22, 2008

Johnnies Too Much for Howard

Kennedy, Horne, Burrell combine for 46 points in offensive outburst.

QUEENS, N.Y. - The St. John's sophomores knew they'd have to step up on Saturday, playing in their first game this season without injured senior Anthony Mason Jr., and the Red Storm second-year players were equal to the task.

Sophomores D.J. Kennedy, Paris Horne and Justin Burrell combined for 46 points as the Red Storm (3-1) ran away from Howard (1-3), 79-44, on Saturday before 3,153 at the newly-renovated Carnesecca Arena in Queens.

"I play the starting role just like I play coming off the bench, I just keep the energy up and go out and play hard. Coach always prepares us in case one of us gets hurt," said Horne, who finished with 15 points on 6-of-12 field goals to go along with 3-of-7 3-pointers, four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal while spelling Mason Jr. in the starting line-up for the first time in his career. "So my mindset was basically the same, just go in, play hard, play defense and score. With the help of my teammates I can fill that role."

St. John's opened the game on a 19-3 run and never looked back, with Kennedy making a trio of 3- pointers during the Red Storm's initial burst over the first 11:05 of the first half. The Red Storm led 42-18 by intermission, with Kennedy and Burrell contributing 12 points apiece in the opening period. Kennedy would finish the day with his third-career double-double, totaling 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to lead the team in scoring for the second time in the young season. Burrell contributed 14 points, including a 6-of-8 effort at the free throw line, and swatted one shot into the stands in the first half, delighting the on-campus crowd.

For the game, St. John's scored at least 70 points for the fourth time in four games, limiting Howard to 44. The Bison point total was the lowest for a Red Storm opponent since a 45-44 STJ overtime win over Boston University on Dec. 28, 2006, at the Holiday Festival opening round at Madison Square Garden.

Sophomore Malik Boothe orchestrated the Red Storm offense for the fourth-straight game, scoring five points and dishing five assists with only two turnovers. Boothe totals 23 helpers and 11 turnovers through his first four contests for a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Redshirt sophomore Rob Thomas earned a career-high 16 minutes off the bench and equaled his career high with eight points, to go along with a career-high eight rebounds (six offensive).

St. John's big men got in on the act as well. Playing his first 10 minutes of the season, senior center Tomas Jasiulionis contributed five points with four rebounds (three offensive). Sophomore understudy Phil Wait earned his first seven minutes in front of the home crowd, and responded by adding two rebounds and a highlight-reel assist to Kennedy. For Howard, sophomore guard Kyle Riley netted 11 points in the losing effort.

St. John's was awarded a host site in the 2008 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Consolation Round, which will be played Monday and Tuesday on campus at the newly-renovated Carnesecca Arena. The Red Storm will face Eastern Michigan on Monday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. Loyola (Ill.) meets the Big Red of Cornell to open the action at 5:45 p.m. On Tuesday, Nov. 25, following a women's basketball contest vs. Army at 3:30 p.m., Cornell and Eastern Michigan square off at 5:45 p.m., with the Red Storm men's team taking on Loyola (Ill.) in the nightcap at 8 p.m.

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