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St. John's tramples third-ranked Duke

NEW YORK -- Teams that beat Duke have reason to celebrate. Teams that blow Duke out of the building should be able to party all night.

So, how long will the St. John's players be allowed to celebrate Sunday's 93-78 victory over No. 3 Duke -- a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated?

"Coach Lav said we had two hours to celebrate and then we have to get ready for Rutgers," senior forward Justin Burrell said, referring to first-year coach Steve Lavin and the Red Storm's next opponent on Wednesday.

Two hours? It will take longer than that just to go over the highlight plays of a game that St. John's had won by halftime. Those last 20 minutes were just a formality.

"I felt like we were ready. The guys wanted to play this game," said Duke guard Nolan Smith, who had 32 points. "We wanted to be here but they came out from the jump ball and kicked our butts."

It wasn't that St. John's (12-8) beat the Blue Devils (19-2), it was the way it happened.

St. John's was finishing a stretch of eight straight games against ranked teams. This win gave them three wins in that span. It was enough to have Lavin waving his arms to the crowd at a media timeout in the second half.

"You're caught up in the moment of the game and I wanted St. John's fans to come to the party in terms of supporting the players on the court," Lavin said. "We had this arduous stretch of games and having lost five of six, at that moment it was just wanting to jumper cable the crowd and bring energy for our players because they deserved a pat on the back and some appreciation for the yeoman's effort and the cohesive brand of basketball they had been playing against the defending national champion."

The Red Storm, who had lost three straight and five of six, took control early and had a 46-25 lead at halftime. Duke, which came into the game shooting 40 percent from three-point range, missed its first 10 shots from behind the arc and made one of 13 in the half.

The Blue Devils' overall shooting wasn't a whole lot better as they shot 29.6 percent (8 of 27) in the half -- they entered the game shooting 48.1 percent from the field -- and they were careless with the ball as well, committing 11 turnovers, one off their season average for a game.

Dwight Hardy had 26 points for St. John's, while Justin Brownlee had 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists and Paris Horne added 15 points and six assists. St. John's shot 58.2 percent for the game (32 of 55) and was 26 of 33 from the free throw line.


Around the nation

*Damian Saunders scored 19 points to lead four Duquesne players in double figures as the Dukes (15-5, 7-0 Atlantic 10) defeated Dayton (15-7, 3-4), 82-64, for their 10th consecutive victory.

*Robert Olson scored 12 points, including the last five in overtime, and a three-pointer to get it there to help Loyola (Md.) (11-10, 7-4 Metro Atlantic), beat Iona (13-9, 7-4), 88-85.

*Justin Greene had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Kent State (14-7, 5-2 Mid-American) over Toledo (4-17, 1-5), 72-55. The University at Buffalo will host Toledo on Wednesday.

*In women's basketball, Odyssey Sims scored 25 points to help top-ranked Baylor beat No. 6 Texas A&M, 63-60.

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