Cincinnati beats St. John’s 71-60
NEW YORK (AP)—Rashad Bishop was leading Cincinnati in scoring when he was ejected for getting two technical fouls.
D.J. Kennedy was well off his team-leading average for St. John’s when was tossed at the same time for the same reason.
Cincinnati handled the loss much better than the Red Storm.
Deonta Vaughn stepped up and scored 18 of his 23 points in the 17 minutes after the double ejection and led the Bearcats to a 71-60 victory Thursday night.
St. John’s was already missing its starting point guard as Malik Boothe missed his seventh straight game with a left thumb injury, and Kennedy’s ejection meant one less guard to help against the Bearcats’ pressure defense. The Red Storm’s 43-35 lead wasn’t enough of a cushion.
“Our game plan was to try and wear them down with the press, knowing they had limited bodies,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. “When they lost Kennedy we thought we had a chance. No doubt we were trying to wear them down.”
Vaughn scored the first 10 points of Cincinnati’s late 17-2 run. The Bearcats (13-7, 3-4 Big East) struggled from the field all game until the run that gave them a 69-57 lead with 25 seconds to play.
“At halftime I told him we can’t win without him having at least a good game,” Cronin said. “In the first half that was not the all-Big East guard we know. We know he has no quit in him and it’s tough on him being a scorer playing the point. Sometimes he fights when to pass or shoot but he made adjustments to get to the free throw line.”
Paris Horne had 20 points for the Red Storm (10-8, 1-5), who lost their fourth straight and seventh of eight. The previous three losses were all to ranked teams.
St. John’s looked like the break from the best of the Big East was just what it needed on the offensive end. The Red Storm was 6-for-8 from 3-point range in the first half in taking a 39-28 lead. They came into the game 15th in the 16th-team league from behind the arc, hitting 28.5 percent. The six 3s in the first half were one off their season high for a game.
But St. John’s hit just two 3s in the second half, the second with 15 seconds to go that was the Red Storm’s second field goal over the final 13 minutes.
It was a game of startling stats for the Red Storm. They had the great first half with the 3s but finished 14-of-31 from the free throw line. They had a 43-33 rebound advantage but turned the ball over 21 times and those led to 21 points for the Bearcats.
“We took ourselves out of the game with our turnovers,” St. John’s coach Norm Roberts said. “We still had to stay tough and make plays and we didn’t make plays and they made plays. Give them credit.”
Official Karl Hess called the first set of technical when the players stood near each other and wouldn’t stop talking. As Hess was at the scorer’s table reporting the technicals, official Curtis Shaw called the two for another set when the talking continued.
“We gave them 10 or 15 seconds to separate, their teams to separate and they didn’t want to separate, they continued to jaw even after the first technical foul,” Shaw told a pool reporter.
Roberts said the double ejection was a “big factor.”
“The situation that happened was I asked if I could remove my guy and was told no and then he was thrown out,” Roberts said. “I was trying to get my guy away from their guy and I couldn’t.”
Kennedy, who finished with six points, took the blame for the loss.
“I lost my cool, it was all my fault,” he said, adding it was the first time he was ever ejected from a game, “and the last time, too.”
Bishop, who had 15 points, said he didn’t think the players deserved the first technicals.
“The second one we weren’t pushing or anything like that, we were just talking to our teams,” he said.
Vaughn started his personal run with a drive that brought Cincinnati within 55-54 with 7:34 left. After a free throw by St. John’s, Vaughn hit consecutive 3-pointers and then made two free throws with 4:34 to go that gave the Bearcats a 62-56. They scored the next six points—one by Vaughn—and the lead was 68-56 with 1:01 to play.
Horne said his having to guard Vaughn the last 17 minutes without Kennedy around wasn’t the difference.
“I was a little tired but I was still with him,” he said. “He got off a little bit when he hit two 3s but most of his points were from the foul line.”
Vaughn finished 8-of-11 from the line and 3-for-9 on 3s after missing all four attempts in the first half.
Justin Burrell added 15 points for St. John’s, while Sean Evans had 12 points and 11 rebounds and was 4-for-13 from the free throw line.