QUEENS, N.Y. (December 1, 2006) – St. John’s Lamont Hamilton, Anthony Mason Jr. and Avery Patterson combined for 52 points, leading the Red Storm (4-3) to a complete all-around team effort and a 78-57 victory over UMBC before 3,994 at Carnesecca Arena.
The trio got it going early for the Red Storm, combining for all 36 points (and 12 of 22 rebounds) in the first half. Hamilton (11 first-half points) was extremely active in the paint, dominating the undersized Retriever front line, while Mason Jr. (14 in the first period) stroked 2-of-3 3-point attempts and rocked the rim twice with thunderous slam dunks. He reached double-digit points for the fifth consecutive game before the halftime buzzer sounded. Patterson (11 first-half points) made a pair of threes and connected on all three of his free throws, and is now a perfect 14-for-14 from the charity stripe in the 2006-07 season.
Eugene Lawrence, the Red Storm captain and floor general, put forth one of his best first-half performances of the young season with six assists, only one turnover, five boards and three steals. The junior guard helped St. John’s record nine assists on its 11 first-half baskets, and the Red Storm did not tally any miscues for the first 15:36 of the game. St. John’s led 36-27 at the break.
Hamilton finished the game with 19 points and six rebounds, while Mason had 17 points, seven boards and a career-high six assists, and Patterson added 16 points and three 3-pointers. Lawrence totaled seven points, eight assists, eight rebounds and four steals on the night.
St. John’s expanded its lead in the second half as the Red Storm bench, which has been a key factor in recent victories, got into the act. Ricky Torres, who scored 33 points in the four prior games, contributed six second-half points while Larry Wright netted five and blocked two shots.
As a team, St. John’s shot 63.6 percent in the second half and 48.1 percent from the game, including a 44.4 percent mark from beyond the arc and a 76.9 percent performance from the free throw line. The Red Storm defense was particularly effective on the perimeter, where it limited UMBC to 36.8 percent shooting and a 20.0 percent mark from 3-point range.
Brian Hodges totaled 19 points off the bench for the Retrievers (3-4), accumulating a remarkable 73 points (24.3 ppg) in his last three games as a reserve.
Before the game, Roberts announced that guard Daryll Hill would miss the game due to soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee. The senior had played in St. John’s first six games, averaging 7.5 ppg in 24.3 minutes per outing.
– Red Storm –