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NCAA Tournament Recap (Indiana-St Johns)

Posted: Sat March 13, 1999 at 10:58 p.m. EST

ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Bootsy Thornton and Ron Artest combined to score 18 points in a 6:05 span bridging the halves when third-seeded St. John's pulled away and crushed Indiana, 86-61, in a second-round NCAA Tournament contest in the South Region.

The 25-point loss was the worst defeat in Indiana's 75-game NCAA Tournament history, surpassing an 80-62 setback to Colorado in the first round in 1997. The Red Storm's biggest win came in the first round Thursday, 69-43 over Samford.

Thornton ignited a 22-6 spurt by draining a 3-pointer with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first half. He added another 3-pointer to open the scoring after halftime, and when Artest nailed a 3-pointer with 17:34 to play, the Red Storm enjoyed a 53-32 advantage.

Lavor Postell completed the run with a layup 25 seconds later and St. John's cruised to into the regional semifinals for the first time since 1991.

"The other night my manager came up to me after the Samford victory (in the first round) and told me my 'Sweet 16' ring from George Washington was missing its' blue diamond," said Red Storm coach Mike Jarvis. "I said 'I guess it's time to get another ring with a red diamond.'"

Thornton scored 10 of his 17 points during the run and Artest eight of his 13 for the Red Storm (28-8), who will play second-seeded Maryland in the regional semifinals Thursday in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Kirk Haston, who scored a career-high 27 points in a first-round victory over George Washington, netted 16 and grabbed 10 rebounds for Indiana (24-11), which has not advanced past the second round of the NCAA Tournament since 1994.

Indiana hit six of its first seven shots and was leading 15-9 with 15:18 left in the first half when Recker drilled the second of his three first-half 3-pointers. But Red Storm coach Mike Jarvis switched to a zone defense, and the Hoosiers did not score again until A.J. Guyton hit a jumper with 10:45 remaining in the half.

During the Hoosiers' 4 1/2-minute drought, St. John's ripped off 13 straight points to take command. Postell began the run with two from the foul line and freshman Erick Barkley and Artest each drained 3-pointers, Artest's coming with 13:04 to go in the half and giving St. Johns the lead for good.

Postell added a 3-pointer and Thornton completed the run with a layup that gave the Red Storm a 22-15 advantage with 11 minutes left before the break.

Indiana hung around and was trailing 33-26 with just under five minutes left after Luke Recker drained a 3-pointer. St. John's, however, closed the half on a 10-4 run.

After Thornton drained his 3-pointer, William Gladness scored for Indiana. But Artest drove for a layup, hit a 3-pointer and Tyrone Grant's layup made it 43-28 with 2:27 to go before halftime. Haston leaned in for a bucket, but Thornton's layup with 20 seconds to go restored the Red Storm's 15-point lead for halftime.

A layup by Gladness with 19:07 to play cut the Red Storm's lead to 48-32, but Thorton drilled a turnaround jumper, Artest drained a 3-pointer and Postell's layup gave St. John's complete control of the game.

Postell had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Grant added 14 and 12 for St. John's, which shot 56 percent (31-of-55) and connected on half of its 20 3-point attempts. The Red Storm held a 38-31 advantage on the boards and forced Indiana into 17 turnovers.

Barkley dished out six assists and scored 12 points to give St. John's five players in double figures. If there was one bad aspect of the game for the Red Storm, it was that they went 14-of-25 from the foul line.

Gladness had 10 points, Recker nine and Michael Lewis handed out four assists for the Hoosiers, who shot 40 percent (24-of-60) and made just 4-of-18 from beyond the arc. Indiana missed all seven of its 3-point attempts in the second half after going 4-of-11 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.

© 2000 Sportsticker Enterprises, LP

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