GAME: Saint John’s beat Georgetown 81-70 at MSG Saturday afternoon and beyond that I’ve been sitting here staring for a bit and I’ll admit that except for a half full glass of Tito’s I’ve got nothing. Probably if I hadn’t tasked myself with writing these things I’d have filled my glass and said fuck it and removed to the couch and taken the rest of the day off. SJU is in the tournament now and the rest of it I don’t care much about. Marquette on the road is a toss-up. Villanova, the way SJU is playing, about the same. The BE tournament, unless they lose a first round game to some patsy, I don’t care. So maybe that’s 22 wins and then comes selection Sunday and they’ll get some draw that 20 years ago I’d have deluded myself into thinking that they had a path to the Final Four but now I’m way too jaded for that and so I’ll instead maybe it’s safer to gird my loins for some atrocious first round loss, history having a tendency to repeat. The question for me now is do I buy in: do I on the one hand say well there’s a boat load of seniors playing well and anything can happen in a one and done or do I eeyore eeyore and say that this year is going to end in disappointment and next year is going to blow and the year after that is going to suck and the year after that too until there are some more seniors and then the hammer to rock incremental progress nonsense kicks in again so why bother. Which leaves me at: whatever … So today. Saint John’s went out to a 10 point lead by virtue of an early 16-3 run and the game was even after that. Essentially Georgetown played the game that will get then bounced out of the tournament the first weekend – if Pete Carill was dead he’d be spinning in his grave – and SJU the one that optimistic SJU fans hope will get them through to the second. Beyond Georgetown’s futility the only stats that jump out at me are SJU’s three point shooting – which was good, 50 percent – and it’s free throw shooting, which wasn’t, 65 percent. (Astute fans will notice that SJ scored 11 more points at the FT line in a game SJ won by 11.) At the line SJU is 53 of 86 over its last for games and 33 free points is a lot to leave out there, especially in the tournament … Nothing to say about Lavin, except to note an ostentatious TO he called up 15 with 2:51 remaining, after which GT hit 3s on three straight possession. I’m guessing he told them not to defend the three point shooters during the huddle, which worked out well, because they won. What a genyious.
PLAYERS: Dom Pointer had 24 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and remarkably no personal fouls. Had I been prescient I’d have tracked his stats in games in which his Buckwheat hairdo was on full display, but even I can’t think of everything. Other than David Cain and maybe Donald Emanuel I can’t think of a player who’s shown the sort improvement Pointer has in his senior year, especially after being so not good the first three. Kris Dunn is probably BE POTY but Pointer might be a close second … Phil Greene had a career high 25 points, including 6 of 7 from three. After the game Lavin called him the best 3-point shooter he’s coached since Marco Bourgault … Nomar Garciaparra to the white courtesy telephone: in a stunning turn of events Jamal Branch injured himself. It looked to be a groin and it looked serious and though I’m no expert on groins (except my own and those of several dancers out at Funbags, which is a gentleman’s club out near the airport) I wouldn’t be surprised to see him not return, ever. Off the top of my head he’s injured his wrist, his knee, his eye, and now his groin and also missed a couple of games after cutting his hand, which he probably did while attempting to apply a bandage to his other hand … Harrison committed two fouls in the first 25 second and sat the entire first half afterwards. He finished with 1 point and no field goals. This year against GT he was 0 for 9 from the floor with 6 points. For his career he’s 19 for 86 and has scored a total of 72 points. In 8 games. In three of those games he’s gone ofer from the floor. In two games he’s scored 48 total points and in the remaining six no more than 7. Working backwards he’s been 0-5, 0-4, 1-12, 7-15, 3-12, 0-9, 1-12, 7-17. Safe to say they’ve got his number … Jordan had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists, including 7 for 8 from the FT line. He’s been in double figure 11 of 15 times since missing the Butler game … Chris Obekpa fouled out in 19 minutes. He grinned infectiously after the fifth one was called and also after a scrum under the basket when he was called for a technical. After the latter incident he ran away from the pile up pointing to his head: evidently he thought the T was on the other guy, because he’s so smrat® … Balamou committed 4 fouls in 13 minutes, including a flagrant one. He also got away with a massive forearm shiver to the chest of a GT player late … No one else played, except Ndiaye got a minute. A shame Lavin couldn’t find a minute for Joey De La Rosa on senior day, he really deserved it
NOTES: The game was called by Marv Albert and Len Elmore. Elmore was a Power Memorial Grad and a Saint John’s commit until Lou went off to coach the Nets. Instead he went to Maryland, where he was an All American. Thanks Lou. In spite of which I won’t hear a bad word spoken about him. Marv Albert on the other hand has the distinction of being the first transvestite to be inducted into the basketball hall of fame, having preceded Denis Rodman. In 1997 Albert was indicted on sodomy charges after he assaulted one of his many lovers in a hotel room. YESSSS! He pleaded guilty to reduced charges after DNA evidence from a bite wound on the woman’s torso was matched to Albert’s saliva. AND IT COUNTS!! In his defense, the woman, Vanessa Perhach, had failed to procure a male “with a large penis” for an anticipated threesome … Speaking of violence, if SJU fans wonder why fans of other teams consider SJU players to be thugs, they need not look beyond today’s game. Contrary to popular opinion it’s not because many of the players come from the inner city and have tattoos and threatening hairdos. It’s because they’re dirty players. In today’s game for example Chris Obekpa – who just two games ago attempted to kill a guy – was involved in another near fight and Felix Balamou got a flagrant one for throwing a helpless player to the ground. Even assistant coach Rico Hines got into the act when he was T’d up for an altercation at halftime. (Perhaps Hines needs some time with John Lucas down in Texas this summer?) Amit Abilvejovich has all the finesse of a Repulicka Srpska war criminal. Dom Pointer – although he has been for the most part a model of rectitude this year – famously punched a ND player several years ago and not a game goes by when the amelioration of D’Angelo Harrison’s alleged anger management issue is every game trotted out as one of Steve Lavin’s great success stories. All that’s left is for Lavin to write a time called Skills for Life. And can anyone doubt that’s far behind? I don’t. But then I’m an optimist.