Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
St. John’s Wins First Game Without Mason; Freshmen Samuels, Monroe Dominate
Playing its first game since losing Anthony Mason Jr.for the season to a foot injury, St. John’s routed Howard 79-44 behind a combined 46 points from sophomores D.J. Kennedy, Paris Horne and Justin Burrell.
“I play the starting role just like I play coming off the bench, I just keep the energy up and go out and play hard,” said Horne (pictured), who finished with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. “Coach [Norm Roberts] always prepares us in case one of us gets hurt. So my mindset was basically the same, just go in , play hard, play defense and score. WIth the help of my teammate I can fill that role.”
St. John’s will need the sophomores to step up now without Mason, their lone senior, done for the year.
The Red Storm will face Eastern Michigan Monday and Loyola (Ill.) Tuesday in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Preseason NIT.
**Blake Griffin had career-highs of 35 points and 21 rebounds as No. 12 Oklahoma held off visiting Gardner-Webb, 80-76. Gardner-Webb shocked Kentucky at Rupp Arena last season.
**DeJaun Blair poured in 27 points and missed just one shot and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead No. 6 Pitt to an 86-60 rout of Division II Indiana (Pa.) in the Legends Classic. Pitt — which features several players with local ties in Levance Fields, Tyrell Biggs, Travon Woodall and Ashton Gibbs — will arrive in Newark at the Prudential Center next weekend for the semis and finals of the event Pitt meets Texas Tech and Mississippi State takes on Washington State in the semis. It will be a busy day at the Rock on Saturday, with Seton Hall playing at noon and then two games in the Legends to follow.
**Former St. Benedict’s Prep star Samardo Samuels led Louisville with 18 points in a 79-41 win over Morehead State. It was Louisville’s first game of the season.
**Fellow freshman Greg Monroe of Georgetown had 20 points and 8 rebounds and Austin Freeman had 16 points to lead No. 22 Georgetown over Drexel, 81-63.
**Locally, onetime Seton Hall commit Chris Smith of St. Benedict’s scored 21 points to lead visiting Manhattan (3-0) over host Fordham (0-3). Devon Austin added 19 points for the visiting Jaspers.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.