St. John's Basketball: Second Half Surge Lifts Red Storm over USF at Carnesecca

Chris Dela RosaContributor IMarch 5, 2011

Photo Courtesy of New York Daily News
Photo Courtesy of New York Daily News

St. John's was supposed to end their season with a blowout win over the South Florida Bulls, but the Red Storm could never take a commanding lead.

Nonetheless, they pulled out the victory, earning themselves their first 20-win season since 2003.

For the entire first half, the Johnnies were never ahead of the Bulls.  Not until Paris Horne made a free throw with 17:53 left in the second half did the Red Storm obtain their first lead of the game. 

After Dwight Hardy hit a three-pointer to give the Johnnies a three point lead, they never looked back.  With their blackout theme in effect, the Red Storm were lights out until the very end as they won by 16.

With two minutes left, Head Coach Steve Lavin began to pull out his seniors, since it was their last game at Carnesecca Arena (formerly known as Alumni Hall).  The standing ovations started as Lavin took out Sean Evans, followed by DJ Kennedy, Dwight Hardy, Justin Brownlee, Malik Boothe, and Justin Burrell.

This victory against South Florida gives St. John's some momentum they lost after losing to Seton Hall Thursday night.

But there is a greater meaning behind this game.

Because the Johnnies could not secure a lead until the middle of the second half, it shows their resiliency against the worst of teams, like USF.  It was back and forth, but St. John's fast group of seniors continued to work on the Bulls, causing them to become tired, which allowed St. john's to quietly stretch their three point lead to a sixteen-point margin of victory in a matter of several minutes.

St. John's looks to continue their magical season in the Big East tournament as they will face either Rutgers or Seton Hall.  The game will be at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday at 2pm.