LOUISVILLE (Jan. 9, 2010) - D.J. Kennedy scored a game-high 20 points for St. John's, but Louisville used a strong second half to defeat the Red Storm 75-68 on Saturday.
"We executed well, made a lot of plays and did a good job of getting the 50/50
balls in the first half," said head coach Norm Roberts. "In the second half, though, Louisville executed much better and made more of the big plays and got to more of the 50/50 balls, and that was the difference in the game."
The Cardinals (12-4, 3-0) and the Red Storm (10-5, 0-3) were forced to grind the first half out due to sloppy ball-handling and poor shooting. St. John's opened the game on a 7-0 run in an opening half that featured small runs from both teams. A Dwight Hardy 3-pointer at the buzzer, however, gave St. John's a 32-28 halftime lead.
Louisville shot 33.0 percent (10-for-30) in the first half and was just 2-for-12 (16.0 percent) from 3-point range. The Red Storm, meanwhile, shot 39.3 percent (11-for-28), including a 44.0 percent (4-for-9) effort from long range.
The second half remained close until Louisville used a 12-1 run midway through the half to take a 58-46 lead at the 7:51 mark. St. John's mounted a late rally to close the final scoring margin to seven.
Jerry Smith led the Cardinals with 16 points, while Jared Swopshire added 15 and Preston Knowles finished with 12.
St. John's, meanwhile, had four players that finished in double-figures. Along with Kennedy's game-high 20, Paris Horne had 15 points. Hardy had 12 points and Sean Evans added 10.
Redshirt senior Anthony Mason Jr. returned to the court for the first time since scoring 12 points against Boston College on Nov. 18, 2008. Mason Jr., who scored 29 points in his last visit to Freedom Hall, finished with five points, one rebound and one assist in 14 minutes of action.
St. John's returns to BIG EAST action, hosting Cincinnati on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
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