Shorthanded Johnnies take care Fordham
Dec 21, 2011 | 1865 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
St. John's had five players for the first half, six for the second, and the coach was about 1,000 miles away. Sounds like a recipe for a young team to lose its fourth straight game.

Not this team.

Freshman forward Moe Harkless had 13 points and 16 rebounds – marking his third-straight double-double – to lead short-handed St. John's to a 56-50 victory over Fordham on Saturday in the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.

It was the Red Storm's first game since Nurideen Lindsey transferred, leaving them with a six-man rotation. Malik Stith sat out the first half for a minor team violation involving academics, but contributed a key steal in the second stanza.

“Once you get that second wind, I could keep playing another 40 minutes, probably,” joked Harkless, one of four players who did play all 40 minutes for the Red Storm.

St. John's head coach Steve Lavin was not on the bench for the sixth time this season as he recovers from prostate cancer surgery.

“Big W! For a number of reasons!'' Lavin texted to The Associated Press from Florida, where he is recruiting.

Lavin has missed the last five games as he tries to regain stamina after the surgery on October 6. He said there's no trouble sitting in a gym watching a high school game or having dinner with an alum. This was the kind of game that a coach on the mend could afford to miss.

St. John's, which had lost three straight, sealed the win by going 3-of-4 at the free throw line over the final 26 seconds.

“They had the momentum and they were making shots,” St. John's assistant coach Mike Dunlap said of Fordham's run. “In the first half we were fresher and able to transition and get to their zone before it set up, especially the last 2:30 of the first half.”

Harrison had 15 points for St. John's, which finished with a 51-37 rebound advantage.

“Our goals going in were to keep them off the offensive glass, which we didn't do,” Fordham coach Tom Pecora said. “The second-shot opportunities killed us.”

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