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.
Brownlee Leads Johnnies to Alaska Title; Syracuse Tops Georgia Tech in Legends Classic
Justin Brownlee scored 20 points and was named Most Outstanding Player as St. John’s won the Great Alaska Shootout title with a 67-58 win over Arizona State.
Dwight Hardy added 14 points, all of which came in the second half, when the Red Storm shot 64 percent to rally from a 10-point halftime deficit.
“Our defense and pressure became more aggressive in the second half. The five guards made the difference,” said head coach Steve Lavin. “We were opportunistic in transition in terms of making steals and converting into them into layups. With the five-guard line-up, we were able to get out on their shooters and get some runouts in the half-court as well.”
Paris Horne added 11 points for the Red Storm (4-1) and Malik Stith scored eight of his 10 points in the second half as the squad closed out the game on a 25-9 run to claim its first regular season tournament title since the 2005 Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival.
Ty Abbott scored a game-high 22 points for the Sun Devils (3-2), while Trent Lockett added 10 points.
Trailing 51-45 with 6:02 remaining in regulation, St. John’s put together a 10-0 spurt that started with six points in a 15-second span. The run started when Horne made the first of two free throws before a miss on the second resulted in a rebounding foul on Lockett. After Malik Boothe made his first try and missed his second, Horne was there for the tip-in.
On the ensuing ASU possession, Stith stole the ball and cruised in for a layup that tied the game at the 5:48 mark. Stith then swiped the ball from Keala King on the next play and scored again to give the Red Storm their first lead of the night.
Hardy then gave St. John’s a four-point lead with a pair of free throws, but Kyle Cain made a layup to cut the deficit to 55-53. Stith, though, delivered the dagger moments later when he banked in a long 3-pointer to beat the shot clock.
A Hardy 3-pointer gave the Red Storm a 61-55 advantage with 3:05 remaining and the Sun Devils would draw no closer, failing to score again until a Jamelle McMillan 3-pointer with two seconds left.
Brownlee averaged 17.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in the three games and shot 66.7 percent (20-for-30) from the floor en route to earning the Most Outstanding Player honors. Hardy (13.0 ppg) and D.J. Kennedy (7.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 apg) were also named to the all-tournament team.
St. John’s is the fourth Big East team to claim a Shootout championship, joining Seton Hall (1988), Syracuse (2000) and Marquette (2001 & 2005). Current Big East schools Louisville (1982) and Cincinnati (1999) also have Shootout titles prior to joining the league.
SYRACUSE TOPS GEORGIA TECH IN LEGENDS CLASSIC**Kris Joseph had 19 points to lead the Orange to the title in Atlantic City. Read the story here.
**Austin Freeman tied a school record with seven 3-pointers in Georgetown’s win over UNC-Asheville.
**Nasir Robinsonkeyed No. 5 Pitt to its win over Penn.
**Dion Dixondropped 20 as Cincinnati beat Dayton.
(Summary courtesy St. John’s athletics)
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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.