Avery Patterson is the latest shooter to say what all shooters truly believe.
"I wasn't really worried about my jump shot," the St. John's junior said. Despite having missed his first 3-point attempts Sunday, he wasn't.
Patterson made two 3-pointers in the final 1:08, the first part of a four-point play, and the Red Storm beat Syracuse 64-60 to end a four-game losing streak.
"My teammates kept telling me to shoot the ball," said Patterson, who came into the game shooting 37 percent from 3-point range and averaging 12.3 points per game.
The Red Storm (11-8, 2-4 Big East) had lost six straight to Syracuse (15-5, 4-2) and were starting to hear the rumblings that they would miss the Big East tournament for a fourth straight season.
"I think our whole team felt the urgency, and that is why we played as hard as we did," said Anthony Mason Jr., who had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Storm. "We came in more pepped up and more enthusiastic. It was a big game for us."
Demetris Nichols hit a 3-pointer with 1:48 to play to give the Orange a 58-57 lead.
Patterson went up for a shot beyond the arc, and Syracuse's Eric Devendorf reached in as he did. The ball went through, and Patterson made the free throw for a four-point play that put the Red Storm ahead 61-58 with 1:28 to play.
Nichols missed a 3-pointer on Syracuse's next possession, and Patterson, who finished with nine points, hit a 3-pointer with 1:03 left for a 64-58 lead.
Devendorf scored on a drive with 54 seconds left and Syracuse opted not to foul St. John's, letting the Red Storm run the clock down. Eugene Lawrence launched a 3 with 18 seconds left on the game clock and the shot clock about to expire, and Qa'rraan Calhoun of St. John's grabbed the rebound to seal the win.
"We got them to take a bad shot and didn't get the rebound," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.
Lamont Hamilton had 10 points and 12 rebounds for St. John's. Lawrence had 10 points and seven assists, and Calhoun had 10 points and seven rebounds.
"I felt like this was a must win," Lawrence said. "Key players make key plays to put you in a situation to win the game at the end. A.P., during the stretch, made some key plays to make sure we were in a situation to win the game."
Devendorf had 23 points, 18 in the second half for Syracuse, while Nichols had 12 points and Terrence Roberts had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Paul Harris had four points and 12 rebounds.
"Eric brought us back on his own," Boeheim said, "but one guy can't do it. You need other people.
"In a close game it comes down to making shots, and they made two big ones at the end. I was disappointed with our inside effort and rebounding, and we missed a lot of free throws and in this league you can't do that."
The Orange went 4-for-14 from the free throw line, and Roberts, who came into the game shooting 51 percent, was 1-for-9.
The loss snapped Syracuse's 47-game winning streak against schools in New York state. The last in-state school to beat the Orange was St. John's, 76-75 on Feb. 19, 2000.
- Red Storm Sports News -