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st. john's red storm

St. John’s Starts Slow, but Wins Opener

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Malik Stith #31 of the St. John's Red Storm drives to the basket against James Southerland #43 and Rick Jackson #00 of the Syracuse Orange during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament presented by American Eagle Outfitters  at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Malik Stith;James Southerland;Rick Jackson

If ever a team could be forgiven for getting off to a slow start in its season opener, it’s this year’s St. John’s squad: Only one player who saw minutes last night, Malik Stith, played for the school last year. Everyone else came in as part of Steve Lavin's much-heralded recruiting class — the one meant to replace the seniors who last year led the school to the NCAA tournament. And so last night, the young Johnnies found themselves down 33-26 at halftime to William & Mary in an opening round game of the 2K Sports Classic. But they got into their groove in the second half, pressuring the Tribe into twelve second-half turnovers while themselves shooting nearly 68 percent from the field in the half. Nurideen Lindsey scored seventeen of his team-high nineteen points in the second half, and St. John's outscored William & Mary 48-26 after halftime en route to a 74-59 victory. St. John's next plays Lehigh tomorrow night at Carnesecca Arena. [NYDN, RedStormSports.com]

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Photo: Chris Trotman/2011 Getty Images