for this game

Plucky Gonzaga takes down St. John's

Mar 18, 2011 - 5:32 AM Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Gonzaga made the Red Storm's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in eight years a brief one, as Marquise Carter scored 24 points to lead the 11th-seeded Bulldogs to a convincing 86-71 drubbing of sixth-seeded St. John's in second-round Southeast Region action.

The Bulldogs (25-9) shot 54 percent from the field and made 9-of-15 attempts from behind the arc, numbers they will look to replicate when they play third- seeded BYU on Saturday.

Steven Gray and Elias Harris chipped in 16 and 15 points, respectively, for Gonzaga, which has rattled off 10 straight wins, including a victory over Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference tourney final last week.

"We played great. I'm just tickled pink I guess, or whatever the saying is," joked Gonzaga head coach Mark Few. "They took the game plan, just went out and executed it. Unbelievable."

The Red Storm (21-12) couldn't overcome the loss of injured senior D.J. Kennedy, getting embarrassed on the glass by a 43-20 margin without their leading rebounder.

Dwight Hardy led the way offensively with 26 points, but it wasn't enough to extend Steve Lavin's first season at the helm.

The absence of Kennedy, who went down with an torn ACL in a Big East Tournament quarterfinal loss to Syracuse last week, wasn't evident immediately, as St. John's ripped off eight of the game's first 10 points.

A little later, however, Gonzaga got easy buckets inside during a 12-0 spurt that Gray capped with a steal and breakaway layup for a 24-14 lead.

The margin reach as high as 15 in the opening half, which ended with Justin Brownlee nailing a jumper before the buzzer to get the Red Storm within 43-32.

A fast-paced start to the second half saw three different Gonzaga players hit from long range in the first three minutes, the last a Gray three-ball that pushed the lead to 52-38.

The giant-killing Red Storm, who defeated four top-10 teams in the regular season, failed to cut their deficit to single digits from there.

Every time things got close, Gonzaga showcased its depth, as jumpers from David Stockton and Kelly Olynyk followed Dwayne Polee II's dunk that had pulled St. John's to 60-50.

An 8-2 run shortly thereafter essentially put the game away, as Robert Sacre's bucket yielded a 72-54 advantage with 6 1/2 minutes left that was too much for the short-handed Red Storm to overcome.

Lavin was still positive following the loss.

"What I said to the kids right after the game was ... five years from now, they're going to look back and realize that they brought St. John's basketball back," the coach preached. "[The incoming class has] lofty standards now to live up to because of this group of 10 seniors that put the foundation in place for the future of our program. They gave our coaching staff the ride of a lifetime."

Game Notes

The Pepsi Center saw three upsets on Sunday, as No. 13 Morehead State beat fourth-seeded Louisville and 12th-seeded Richmond dumped fifth-seeded Vanderbilt...Gonzaga improved to 16-13 in the NCAA Tournament, while St. John's fell to 27-29 in the event...Gonzaga also beat St. John's in the second round of the 2000 NCAA tourney...Sacre totaled nine points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs, who recorded 20 assists on 28 successful field goals...Brownlee netted 14 points in defeat.