Manhattan 72, St. John’s 65
NEW YORK (AP)—Luis Flores scored 20 points and Manhattan beat St. John’s 72-65 Friday night and will have a chance to repeat as champion of the Holiday Festival.
The Jaspers (6-3) will again play fellow Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Iona for the title. The Gaels beat No. 22 North Carolina 65-56 Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Manhattan beat Iona 69-58 to win the 2001 tournament.
Marcus Hatten of St. John’s (5-2) was held to 11 points, 12 below his average. Hatten, who was 5-of-19 from the field including 0-for-5 from 3-point range, had scored at least 15 points in every game this season.
The Red Storm lead the all-time series between the schools 62-25, but the Jaspers have won the last two, including an 85-68 win at Madison Square Garden last season, after losing 17 straight.
Flores hit a spinning jumper as part of a three-point play with 14:36 left to give the Jaspers the lead for good at 47-44. The Red Storm went almost seven minutes without a field goal as Manhattan widened the lead to 59-48 on a steal and layup by Kenny Minor with 7:53 to play.
St. John’s did close within six points with 1:15 left but the Jaspers ran the 35-second shot clock down to one second before Jason Benton was fouled with 41 seconds left and he made one free throw.
Benton had 14 points for Manhattan, while Dave Holmes added 12 and Minor, a freshman, had eight points and seven assists.
Anthony Glover and Eric King each had 14 points for the Red Storm, who have lost two straight, while Kyle Cuffe added 12. Glover had 12 rebounds for St. John’s, which finished with a 45-35 advantage on the boards.