NEW YORK – Sophomore Sean Evans tallied a career-high 19 points and added 13 rebounds to post his second-career double-double as St. John's defeated Marist, 65-44, in the opening round of the 2008 Aeropostale Holiday Festival.
With the win St. John's improves to 9-1, its best start since the 1990-91 season when STJ opened 10-1.
A well-balanced attack helped St. John's to its seventh-straight win as Paris Horne (12 points), D.J. Kennedy (11 points) and Rob Thomas (11 points) each added double-figure performances. Thanks to 14 points off turnovers in the first half, the Red Storm led by 10, 35-25, at halftime.
After the break, St. John's used a 16-1 run to open up a 51-26 lead at the 10:50 mark. When Lawrence Williams netted a 3-pointer for Marist (3-7) with 10:37 to play, it marked the first field goal St. John's allowed in the second half.
Thomas contributed early and often in his first career start, scoring five of the Red Storm's first 16 points and closing the half with nine points, five boards and three blocks.
For the ninth time this season St. John's won the battle of the boards using a season-high 52 boards (20 offensive) to top Marist by seven on the glass. The Red Storm also converted 16 Marist turnovers into 23 points.
The Red Storm will face Virginia Tech in the Holiday Festival Championship on Sunday at 2:30 p.m., marking the second-straight season that the teams have met for the title. Marist and Columbia will take to the court at noon in the consolation game.
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