What St. John's did against the BC press was break it with long passes. The Redmen led 40-37 at the half and stretched the margin to eight points (53-45) with 12:48 left. What the Redmen did against Adams' offense was, as Goodwin later explained, "All head for the paint and spread out. If he wanted to penetrate, we were there, waiting."
Were it not for a courageous inside performance by Garris—32 points, 10 rebounds—Boston College would have been embarrassed. As it was, the Eagles bravely hung in close—at 61-57 and 63-59, when Garris made two free throws and a layup. But St. John's was shooting 68.3% from the field, and Russell (19 points on the day) was throwing down some dazzling slams off the transition game.
When BC reserve Terrence Talley missed a leaner in the lane and Garris fanned an off-balance tip rebound that would have made it a two-point game, Goodwin broke loose with the ball and passed to Mullin, who was hacked. The clock was off, and now it was a foul-shooting contest. Mullin made both of his, 65-59—over and out.
"It's a reward to play in the Garden," Mullin said. "There's a special excitement," said Goodwin. Then, an admission: "We are used to playing in this gym." Gym?
"Dear God, this was important for us," Carnesecca was saying. And saying. "That we not blow it here. Not important for world conditions, you understand, but in our little world, yes. Sweet. So sweet. Now in the NCAAs we may be a raving fiasco. You got to check the moon, the stars, the time of the month. All the other guys got bullets, too. But this week we walked with kings. Joe Lapchick used to say that. That reminds me.... Say, you guys get paid piecework for all of these interviews? Jeez, there's a lot of questions."
But by now the questions have long since ceased. All those of good cheer should hope that the little laughmaker with the best and most interesting St. John's team of all doesn't stop with the answers until Albuquerque. He...is...St. John's.