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.
Johnnies Snap 10-Game Losing Streak to Mounties; Coach K Moves Into 2nd Place on All-Time Wins List
The last time St. John’s beat West Virginia, Mike Jarvis was the Johnnies head coach.
First-year coach Steve Lavin started off his Big East schedule with a bang by notching a huge 81-71 victory over the Mountaineers in Morgantown, West Va.
Dwight Hardy scored 20 points and Justin Brownlee and D.J. Kennedy added 17 apiece as the Johnnies notched their first win over West Virginia since 2002 and their first victory at the West Virginia University Coliseum since 1999.
“I’m so pleased for our seniors because they haven’t had as much success here as they would’ve liked to,” Lavin told SNY.
“Really they help us because this is our first year as a staff in the league and having those seniors who have navigated this rigorous Big East territory really helps us, makes me feel more confident knowing we’ve got some guys who’ve been through the battles in this conference.”
Former St. John’s coach and current SNY analyst Norm Roberts, who was never able to beat West Virginia, praised Lavin for the victory.
“It’s a huge win for Lavin, a huge win for the program,” Roberts said on air.
Roberts recruited the current players, who, despite finishing 13th last season at 6-12, were picked sixth in the Big East this year, garnering one first-place vote from Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
“They’re tough, they know how to fight through those tough times,” Roberts said of the team’s nine seniors.
The Johnnies (8-3, 1-0 Big East) have now won three in a row after falling in back-to-back games to Atlantic 10 bottom-feeders St. Bonaventure and Fordham.
“We had a couple heartbreaking losses to St. Bonnie at home and also to Fordham on the road,” Lavin said. “We let some leads slip away, and so when you’re kids come back with the resilient spirit, the resolve, the stick-to-it-iveness that it takes to be successful in athletics, you just feel good for them. This is their night.”
COACH K MOVES INTO 2ND-PLACE ON ALL-TIME WINS LIST
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski moved into second place on the all-time wins list as the Blue Devils routed UNC-Greensboro, 108-62, behind Kyle Singler’s 27 points and Nolan Smith’s 22.
Coach K surpassed former North Carolina coach Dean Smith with his 880th career victory.
“I congratulate Mike on this milestone victory,” Smith said in a statement issued by North Carolina following the game. “I am sure he would want to share the credit for the wins with all his players and staff. I enjoyed competing against Mike’s teams throughout the years I was at UNC. I wish him continued health and personal success.”
Next up is Krzyzewski’s mentor, Bob Knight, who is first in Division 1 history with 902 wins. Coach K need 22 wins to tie Knight’s mark.
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.