QUEENS, N.Y. (Dec. 8, 2008) – Sophomore forward Justin Burrell thunderously threw down a Paris Horne pass in transition with 16:57 to play in the second half, snapping out a piece of the stanchion and effectively ending the career of his fourth-ever basketball goal.
The 35-minute game-delay while a substitute basket was put into place was the closest St. John's would come to slowing down, however, as the Red Storm rolled to a 82-54 victory over NJIT on Monday.
The Red Storm ran its win streak to five games, captured its sixth victory in six chances at the newly-renovated Carnesecca Arena, and improved overall to 7-1 on the year with the win over the local Highlander squad (0-8).
Burrell finished with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while Horne led the Red Storm in scoring (18 points) for the first time in his career. Classmate and starting backcourt partner Malik Boothe added 11 points (3-of-4 field goals, 1-of-2 3-pointers, 4-of-4 free throws) with five boards and three assists.
For the game, the Red Storm reached 70 points for the seventh time this season, shooting 50.8 percent from the field (30-of-59) and grabbing 43 boards to the Highlanders' 30.
"You try to execute and get different line ups out there. When you have a nice enough lead we try to do some things that you may not be able to do in other games. You try to change the defenses up and try to see what works," said head coach Norm Roberts. "We tried to see some combinations of players. When D.J. [Kennedy] didn't have a great shooting game we got other guys in there to pick up the slack."
The Red Storm ran out to an 8-0 lead in less than two minutes, prompting NJIT to take a timeout after only 1:38 elapsed in the contest. Things would only worsen for the Highlanders from there, as the Red Storm closed a 14-3 run to make it 40-17 at the 1:58 mark with back-to-back Burrell and Sean Evans dunks, giving St. John's its largest lead of the period.
At the end of the first stanza, the Red Storm led 42-23 and had equaled its largest halftime lead of the season. The Red Storm connected on 44.1 percent (15-of-34) of its field goals en route to the 19-point advantage, and outrebounded the Highlanders for a 23-11 margin. Balanced scoring paced the first half, as only Horne reached double-figures with 13 points before the intermission.
Following the basket delay in the second period, it was more of the same for the Red Storm, as the home squad pushed the lead to 30 by the 5:07 mark. The Red Storm didn't surrender an inch of momentum or an ounce of hustle in the second half; the eventual 28-point victory was punctuated by a fierce rejection on a Highlanders fast-break attempt with 13:05 to play and a Burrell save while diving into the visitors' bench and drawing a foul only seconds later.
The Red Storm continues its six-game Carnesecca Arena homestand on Sunday, Dec. 14, when St. John's will play host to the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m. The Holiday Festival is a pre-Christmas affair this season, on Dec. 20 and 21 at MSG.
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