Sunday, 6 September 2009

St. John's 71, Carleton 54

St. John's stormed back from an early second half 7 point deficit, using their athleticism at both ends to create numerous transition scores and went on to defeat Carleton 71-54 Sunday afternoon at less-than-half full Raven's Nest. 6'6" junior D.J. Kennedy had 19 points and 9 rebounds, including 13 after halftime, into which the Johnnies went trailing 34-30, to lead St. John's while 6'5" junior Dwight Hardy went 4-5 from downtown and finished 18. 6'3" junior guard Paris Horne added 13 including 11 after halftime. 6'6" freshman Tyson Hinz led the Ravens with 12 points in 16 minutes.

After a conventional three-point play by 6'5" Kyle Smendziuk gave Carleton their largest lead at 37-30 early in the second half, the Red Storm stepped up their "d", grabbed long rebounds and converted numerous break out opportunities, resulting in a 22-3 run to give St. John's at 52-40 lead with 14:13 remaining, culminated by a transition three from the left wing by Hardy. While the Ravens were an efficient 4-6 from downtown in the first half, Carleton went cold from beyond the arc in the game-deciding segment early in the second half as the Johnnies feasted on long rebounds and subsequent breakouts that resulted in easy transition scores and open looks from 3. After the early three point play by Smendziuk, St. John's outscored Carleton 41-17 the rest of the way.

The Ravens stayed in the game in the first half by taking care of the ball in the face of constant, physical St. John's ball pressure, defending well and most importantly limiting the Red Storm to only 3 offensive rebounds. Carleton grabbed their largest lead at 26-19 after a three by 6'3" Elliot Thompson but Hardy (18 points including 4-5 3's), Kennedy and Horne led the St. John's blitz that decided the game by the half-way point of the second half. The teams played NCAA rules with a 35 second shot clock and two 20 minute halves.

The Ravens received a solid effort from local Ottawa native Hinz, who appears to have a knack for getting shots up around the rim and today didn't seem to make a bad decision. Ottawa transfer Willy Manigat entered the game midway through the first half and quickly established himself defensively on the ball and running the show with some intelligent looks out of double teams and hard hedges. 6'5" Cole Hobin got off to a strong start with some aggressive takes and a three but did not score after halftime. 6'8" Kevin McCleery worked hard around the paint and did his best to establish himself offensively with 10 points and even had a very nice block hustling back on a transition layup but was credited for only 1 rebound. Carleton was hurt by a sub-par shooting effort from 5'11" Mike Kenny, who missed all 4 of his 3's - 3 of which were wide open - and appeared to be moving rather gingering on his feet.

St. John's played without the services of 6'7" Anthony Mason Jr., whose recovery from last season's foot surgery is documented in an upcoming episode of "MTV's True Life" series, and is resting a tweaked hamstring, suffered during practice on Thursday. Junior Dele Coker, a Nigerian citizen, did not make the trip with the team due to complications with his travel visa. 6'6" Rob Thomas started at forward but clutched at his hamstring and was subbed off about 2 minutes into the game.

St. John's, now 3-0 on their tour of Montreal and Ottawa, moves across town to meet the Ottawa Gee-Gees at Montpetit Hall at 8:30 PM ET.

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