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January 3, 2009

St. John's takes Garden by Storm

Kennedy, Burrell and Horne combine for 52 points as SJU notches biggest win of The Roberts Era

QUEENS, N.Y. - D.J. Kennedy scored 20 points, including four free throws in the final 15 seconds, and had 10 rebounds to send St. John's past No. 7 Notre Dame 71-65 on Saturday.

The Red Storm (10-4, 1-1 Big East) ended a three-game losing streak by holding Notre Dame to one of its worst 3-point shooting games of the season. The Fighting Irish went 4-for-17, including a 1-for-5 effort by long-range specialist Kyle McAlarney.

Luke Harangody had 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Fighting Irish (10-3, 1-1), who had won four straight. This was the third of the last four meetings to come down to the final minute.

The Red Storm took the lead for good at 52-50 on a rebound basket by Justin Burrell with 11:30 to play. That started an 8-0 run and Notre Dame used a 7-0 run to get within 60-59 on a basket down low by Zach Hillesland with 6:34 to play.

Tory Jackson's 3-pointer with 17 seconds left got the Fighting Irish within 67-65. But Kennedy, a 66 percent free-throw shooter entering the game, made two with 15 seconds left and followed another missed 3 by Notre Dame with two more with 5.4 seconds left for the final margin.

Burrell had 18 points for St. John's and Paris Horne, who had the defensive assignment on McAlarney for almost the entire game, added 14.

Jackson had 14 points for the Fighting Irish, who came in shooting 41.8 percent from 3-point range and averaged 9.8 3s a game, while McAlarney had 10.

This was St. John's sixth win over a ranked team in Norm Roberts' five seasons as coach, all at Madison Square Garden. The highest-ranked team to fall to the Red Storm before was No. 9 Pittsburgh on Jan. 21, 2007.

Though Notre Dame had won three of the last four meetings with St. John's, two were decided on 3-pointers in the final seconds, including St. John's 71-68 win over the 22nd-ranked Fighting Irish on Jan. 23, 2007.

McAlarney came in shooting 41.4 percent from 3-point range and he averaged 4.3 3s a game. He missed his first three of this game before making his only one with 12:24 to play, tying the game at 48.

St. John's now has a week off before traveling to No. 3/3 Pittsburgh on Sunday, Jan. 11.




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