St. John's Defeats South Florida, 72-48
As the New York Giants were preparing to make history by defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, the St. John's Red Storm came from behind to defeat South Florida in a Big East encounter on Saturday night, February 2, in Florida.
At one point St. John's trailed by 16 points, 25-9, in the first half before making a comeback that included a 19-1 run that helped leave the teams tied at half time, 26-26.
The Johnnies were led by Justin Burrell, who had a career high 22 points. Larry Wright added 17 points, including 3 treys from downtown. Malik Boothe, a former Christ the King H.S. backcourt star, reached career highs in his first season at St. John's, adding a career first double-double, including 11 points and 10 assists.
When St. John's (8-12, 2-7) fell behind 25-9 in the first half, some spectators were reminded of the Red Storm's recent blow-out loss to Georgetown at the Garden on Wednesday January 30, in which the Storm experienced their worst Big East loss, 74-42. But this game would be different. The Johnnies mounted a comeback in the first half and sustained it in the second stanza. This win broke a six-game losing streak for the Red Storm, which dated back to January 9 when they dropped a Big East game vs. U. Conn. The victory was their first since they beat Cincinnati on January 5.
Dominic Jones led SFU (10-13, 1-8) with 22 points in a losing effort with Mobolaii Ajaya scoring 12 and Kentrell Granberry adding 10 in South Florida's eighth Big East loss in a row.
Through the SJU Media Department on the team's Web site, St. John's Head Coach Norm Roberts said of Johnnies freshman standout 6'8" Justin Burrell: "We expect Justin to be a major impact guy for us this year. He is a guy that can score from 15 feet, or with his back to the basket. He brings unbelievable energy and toughness and aggressiveness. I think the sky is the limit for his potential."
St John's will play Providence at noon on February 9 at Carnesecca Arena and Cincinnati at 7 p.m. on February 13 at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.