Queens, New York - The St. John’s Red Storm survived a
furious Brown second half rally to hold on for a 79-76 win over the
Bears at Carnesecca Arena in the Philly Hoop Group Classic.
The Bears trailed for the entire second half but pulled to within one point of St. John’s, 77-76, on a 12-foot jump shot by freshman Tucker Halpern with 41 seconds remaining in the game. St. John’s Malik Boothe hit two free throws with 18 seconds remaining to put the Red Storm up, 79-76.
Brown had a chance to tie the game at the final seconds, but Adrian Williams’ long three-point attempt under pressure hit the side of the rim as time expired.
Despite falling to 1-3 on the season, Bears head coach Jesse Agel has been pleased with the play of the Bears. “I’m really proud of how our guys competed and executed and hung in there with a Big East team,” said Agel. “We’ve played seven very good halves this year, but we need to get better results.”
Junior Peter Sullivan scored 12 of his game high 17 points in the second half as the Bears mounted a fast-paced comeback and seemed to tire out the physical Red Storm team.
Trailing by 10 points at the half, 42-32, the gritty Bears picked up the pace at the outset of the second half and drew to within five points of the Red Storm, 55-49, on a lay-up by senior Matt Mullery at the 13:16 mark.
Agel’s team continued to put the pressure on the Red Storm and pulled to within one point for the first time, 75-74, on a Halpern trey with 1:09 left to play.
Brown senior Steve Gruber took a floor leadership role at point guard and helped the Bears break St. John’s full court pressure. He also carried some of the scoring load to score a career high 14 points on 3 of 4 shooting from the field, including 8 of 10 shooting from the free throw line.
Mullery turned in another strong performance in the middle for the Bears with 16 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field.
Brown’s freshman duo of Halpern and Andrew McCarthy had a major impact on the game with both scoring in double figures. Halpern netted a season high 10 points, while McCarthy tossed in 11 points and grabbed a season best six rebounds.
The Red Storm was led by Dwight Hardy, who scored 16 points, and DJ Kennedy, who added 15 points.
The Bears will play their third game in five days, returning home on Sunday, November 22, to host Maine. Matinee game time is 2:00 p.m. at the Pizzitola Sports Center.