NEW YORK (Jan. 24, 2009) – Paris Horne and D.J. Kennedy didn’t have to wait too long to turn despair into redemption. Less than 48 hours after a disappointing home loss to Cincinnati, the sophomore duo combined for 43 points to key the Red Storm to a 70-59 win over local BIG EAST rival Rutgers at Madison Square Garden.
Horne scored a career-high 27 points on 12-of-13 shooting, and St. John's closed the game on a 9-0 run to seal the win. Kennedy, who finished with 16 points and six assists, then went 10-for-11 from the foul line in his comeback game after being tossed with two technicals against the Bearcats.
St. John's (11-8, 2-5 Big East), which snapped a four-game losing streak with the win, led 56-40 with 10 minutes to play only to see the Scarlet Knights (9-11, 0-7) get within 61-59 on a 3-pointer by Jaron Griffin with 2:50 left.
“We knew that Rutgers would come back in the second half, but I thought our guys held strong,” said Red Storm coach Norm Roberts. “D.J. made some big plays for us, Paris made plays all game, Sean came back after being in foul trouble and I thought Justin was extremely active even though he didn’t score a lot of points. I thought that blocked shot was a huge deal in the game.”
Freshman Mike Rosario had 17 points for Rutgers, which lost its eighth straight with six of the losses to ranked teams.
Red Storm forward Sean Evans scored all 11 of his points in the second half for the Red Storm, who shot 52.9 percent from the field (27-for-51), just the third time this season St. John’s shot better than 50 percent. Justin Burrell had nine points and eight rebounds for the Red Storm, which finished with a 37-23 advantage on the boards.
Horne bettered his previous career high of 24 points against Connecticut earlier this month. His only miss was a 3-point attempt in the first half, when he scored 20 points.
The Red Storm used a 15-2 run to take a 23-11 lead seven and a half minutes into the game. STJ shot 57.1 percent in taking a 37-26 halftime lead, an impressive percentage considering the Red Storm missed eight of its last nine shots.
St. John's heads to Morgantown, W.Va., on Wednesday, Jan. 28, to take on the Mountaineers at 7 p.m. on SNY-TV.