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St. John's hands Notre Dame second straight loss

Jan 17, 2011 - 12:11 AM New York, NY (Sports Network) - D.J. Kennedy and Malik Boothe both scored 14 points to lead St. John's to a 72-54 victory over ninth-ranked Notre Dame at Madison Square Garden.

Dwight Hardy chipped in 12 points and Justin Brownlee added 11 for St. John's (11-5, 4-2 Big East), which had lost two straight, including a 76-61 setback at Notre Dame eight days ago. The Red Storm then followed up that game with a 17-point loss at home to Syracuse on Wednesday, but got back on track Sunday with a second win over a ranked opponent this season.

"Our staff was really impressed with the collective effort and the cohesive brand of basketball that we played for 40 minutes and we thought that was the difference," said St. John's head coach Steve Lavin.

The Irish (14-4, 3-3) have dropped two in a row since beating St. John's last Saturday and both have been ugly. Marquette handed Notre Dame a 79-57 beating on Monday in Milwaukee before Sunday's dismal effort.

"We could not get much into a rhythm, we did the best we could, but could not get into any rhythm," said Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey.

Ben Hansbrough scored 18 points for the Irish, who committed a season-high 20 turnovers and shot just 41 percent. Tim Abromaitis made just 4-of-11 shots and contributed 10 points in defeat.

The Red Storm built a 26-19 lead at the break and still held a seven-point margin 2 1/2 minutes into the second half before a run of five straight expanded the margin to 37-25. Notre Dame quickly trimmed the deficit in half with the next six, but St. John's responded with a 12-2 spurt to take control.

Irish head coach Mike Brey was hit with a technical foul with 10:13 to play and Hardy made both ensuing free throws before drilling a three-pointer to give St. John's a 49-33 cushion. Notre Dame never really recovered.

The Red Storm led by as many as 19 at 55-36 on a bucket by Hardy before the Irish cut it to 57-46 on a layup by Tyrone Nash with just under five minutes left. Kennedy's acrobatic three-point play stemmed the Irish momentum and he followed with a pair from the line a few minutes later to extend the lead back to 16.

Notre Dame got only as close as 12 from there.

The Red Storm sealed the contest at the line and finished 24-of-29 from the stripe, including a 16-for-18 effort in the second half. St. John's made 63.6 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes.

Both teams struggled in a first half that featured a combined 25 turnovers and 29 fouls. At one point, the teams went more than 7 1/2 minutes without a field goal, combining for just five free throws after Hansbrough's three-pointer at the 16:54 mark until Boothe's triple with 9:15 left.

Boothe's shot gave St. John's a 13-6 edge and he followed with another from beyond the arc on the next trip for a 10-point margin. Scott Martin then halted Notre Dame's lengthy drought with a layup.

The Irish ended the dreadful first 20 minutes with five of the last seven points and headed to the intermission down 26-19.

Game Notes

The Red Storm also beat then-No. 13 Georgetown on January 3 at MSG and have beaten two ranked teams in one season for the first time since the 2005-06...St. John's shot 48.9 percent overall...Notre Dame made only 19-of-32 free throws and connected on just 3-of-15 from three-point range...St. John's is scheduled to play its fifth straight ranked opponent on Wednesday at Louisville, should the Cardinals remain in the top-25...Notre Dame will return home Wednesday to meet Cincinnati.