The Johnnies won their second in-season tournament with an 85-69 victory over previously-unbeaten Northwestern in the championship game of the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.
Dwight Hardy scored 24 points and Justin Brownlee added a career-high 21 and was named Most Outstanding Player as St. John’s shot 80 percent from the field in the second half to hand the Wildcats their first loss of the season.
“It is rare to shoot 80 percent in a half so I think our players executed well in two gears, in transition when the opportunity was there and then probing for good looks,” Lavin said. “It was all an indication of sharing the ball. I thought we were crisp, in sync, playing with a high confidence level and our defense picked up in the second half. You put it together and we had a breakthrough. If you keep working there’ll be a breakthrough.”