City Sports Report

Duke vs St, John’s had the Garden Rocking

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By Lloyd Carroll

It has been a long time since a basketball game truly generated electricity in Madison Square Garden. Obviously the New York Knicks’ futility has played a large role in taking a lot of the energy out of the “world’s most famous arena.”

Sunday afternoon the frequently moribund MSG regained its old mojo as the St. John’s Red Storm took on the Duke Blue Devils. Although St. John’s was the nominal home team at the sold-out Garden, it seemed as if the team from Durham, NC had an equal, if not greater, amount of supporters. The Duke faithful were undoubtedly charged up by the fact that longtime head coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski was seeking his 1,000th career win as a college coach.

It was a back and forth game that was marked by questionable officiating throughout. Although the Johnnies played hard and reasonably contained Blue Devils center Jahlil Okafor , who will be the probable first pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, they did not have an answer for the defensive prowess of 7′ forward Marshall Plumlee in the second half. Marshall’s older brother, Mason, plays center for the Brooklyn Nets and was in attendance.

Although his team lost 77-68, Red Storm head coach Steve Lavin was in fairly good spirits after the game and praised his team. He admitted to me privately that he was concerned that the team might suffer a letdown after playing a marquee team at the Garden that was shown nationally on Fox. “As soon as I got back to the locker room I addressed the guys and told them that they have to forget about this game and get ready for Creighton University on Wednesday and all of the other teams in the Big East.”

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