The Red Storm posts a 2-0 record, downing McGill, 90-55, and topping UQAM, 104-62
MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA - If the Red Storm men's basketball team was weary from the long day of travel and the late arrival on Friday night, the excitement to get on the court Saturday against live competition far superseded any ill effects. St. John's put up a pair of dominant victories in its Saturday Canadian doubleheader, persevering against a scrappy McGill University team, 90-55, in the early afternoon, before roughing up a physical University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) squad in the nightcap, 104-62.
"Our conditioning is not what you want it to be yet, but I thought our guys got after it and really competed," said head coach Norm Roberts. "We got off to a slow start this afternoon, but then our defense picked up. I liked the play of a lot of our guys. All of our guys gave us good minutes at different times."
Against McGill in the weekend opener, the Red Storm used a 40-6 second quarter to erase an early eight-point deficit. The 2009-10 St. John's squad's depth became evident during their first time on-court together, as 11 players scored and only two players saw more than 25 minutes of action - rookie guards Malik Stith and Dwight Hardy at 26 each. Malik Boothe and D.J. Kennedy led the way in the box score with 10 points apiece, while returnees Quincy Roberts, Paris Horne and newcomers Stith and Justin Brownlee chipped in with nine points, and Sean Evans added eight with seven boards. The Red Storm connected on 56.7 percent of its field goals and dominated on the glass, 39-21.
After a short respite and a pregame meal at the team hotel, it was off to UQAM for a boxing match on what might have been thought to be tired legs. The sharpshooting Citadins fired at a 41.7 clip from beyond the arc (5-of-12), but were no match for the bigger, more physical Red Storm front line. Evans (17 points, nine rebounds) and Brownlee 14 points) combined to go 14-of-16 from the field, Hardy's game-high 20-point performance included two 3s, and Kennedy and Horne contributed 18 and 15, respectively. St. John's shot 59.2 percent from the floor while limiting UQAM to 36.4 percent, all before a boisterous French-speaking crowd.
St. John's second day in Canada was a success overall, but not without its losses. Junior forward Justin Burrell suffered a hand injury after scoring eight points in eight minutes vs. McGill when diving for a loose ball. X-rays were inconclusive, and Burrell will be examined on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery by hand specialist Dr. Leigh Carlson. He will not play in Sunday's games. Sophomore guard Quincy Roberts, who scored nine against McGill, left the UQAM game with a mild concussion in the second quarter. He was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure. Additional details will be provided as they become official.
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