2008-01-09 / Sports

St John's Drops Aeropostale Championship At MSG

BY DAN MILLER

Opening jump ball at the start of the Aeropostale Invitational Championship at MSG. Virginia Tech defeated St. John's, 54-48. Opening jump ball at the start of the Aeropostale Invitational Championship at MSG. Virginia Tech defeated St. John's, 54-48. The St. John's Red Storm (6-5) came into Madison Square Garden on Saturday, December 29 to face Virginia Tech (8-5) for the Aeropostale Invitational Championship game after having just beaten Marist the day before to gain the bid to play for the tournament trophy game.

St. John's defense put up a good front, holding the Virginia Tech Hokies to only 36.7 percent on 18-49 shooting from the floor. This was the sixth time that the Storm kept its opponents to under 40 percent this season. But its own offense did not fare any better, hitting only 28.3 percent on 15-53 themselves.

As the game came to a close, St. John's players hit two three-pointers to keep close, but failed to come away with the victory, losing 54- 48 and bringing their record to 6-5.

AD Vasalla was the leading scorer for VTech with 16 points, earning him tournament MVP honors. Anthony Mason Jr. led St. John's with 12 points in the loss.

No. 4 Junior Guard Eugene Lawrence defends against Virginia Tech Hokies during Aeropostale Finals at MSG. Photos Dan Miller/DMD Images No. 4 Junior Guard Eugene Lawrence defends against Virginia Tech Hokies during Aeropostale Finals at MSG. Photos Dan Miller/DMD Images This was the 43rd appearance for St. John's in the tournament since its inception in 1952. The Red Storm was looking for their 15th Festival title, but Virginia Tech would not allow it.

"Give Virginia Tech a lot of credit. They are a good team and big," SJU Coach Norm Roberts said after the game. He added, "This was a good game for us to get prepared for the Big East. There are going to be a lot of games that are going to be like this in the Big East."

St. John's Basketball Update

On January 2, St. John's dropped its Big East opener at Syracuse. The Red Storm received a 21-point, 12-rebound effort from freshman forward Justin Burrell and outrebounded the Orange 42-36, but fell 76-70 in the hotly contested match-up. Anthony Mason Jr. was limited to 25 minutes with early foul trouble, but contributed 10 points, while Larry Wright stroked three 3-pointers to chip in with nine points. Eugene Lawrence netted seven points with five assists and no turnovers.

The St. John's basketball team returned to the friendly confines of Carnesecca Arena on Saturday, January 5, to face Big East rival Cincinnati. Led by the outside shooting of Anthony Mason Jr. and the rookie forward tandem of D.J. Kennedy and Justin Burrell, St. John's (7-6, 1-1 Big East) used a first-half surge to build momentum and tallied a 70-58 victory over visiting Cincinnati (6-8, 1-1 Big East) before a crowd of 5,019 at Carnesecca Arena. "We played extremely hard and we did a good job defensively," Coach Norm Roberts said.

The next St. John's home games are scheduled for Saturday, January 12 versus DePaul at Carnesecca Arena at noon and Wednesday, January 23 versus Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m.

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