"Jay's in deceptively terrible shape," Spartan Coach Jud Heathcote said. "He could weigh 300 pounds and still be quick enough to beat you."
Well, Vincent did beat Princeton with 23 points, and against St. John's he kept beating McKoy until Carnesecca was so concerned his center would foul out again he switched the skinny, shorter Plair onto Vincent. More beating up.
In the first half, Vincent, who had 30 points for the night, made seven baskets and singlehandedly kept the Spartans close. Carter, meanwhile, had returned to the Redmen with a bang, knocking down his first four shots and scoring 14 points by halftime.
St. John's figured out Michigan State's bewildering matchup zone better in the second half and raced to a 12-point lead, after which Redding and Russell were shuttled in and out of the lineup. Still, Vincent kept curling his enormous frame around defenders for soft one-handers off the glass. He scored four baskets to cut St. John's margin to 58-55 with 10 minutes left. Three more times the Redmen pulled away, and three more times Vincent scored to reduce the deficit to three.
But he couldn't do it forever. After St. John's had edged ahead 68-61 with 4:56 remaining, Vincent again started his move into the key, but this time Carter sneaked up from the blind side and stole the ball. Lunging after Carter, Vincent fouled him; Carter converted both free throws, and St. John's never looked back from there, winning 88-73.
That wrapped up quite a weekend for the Redmen. They had shot 70 for 120—58%—in the two games, had beaten two name opponents and had discovered an explosive new R 'n' R factor, namely Redding and Russell. Heathcote said the Redmen are legit, that they are as good as the best teams in the Big Ten, that they deserve to be ranked in the national Top Ten.
"I'm really proud to beat the champions," said Carnesecca. "But it's only the second game. I'm not taking my hat off to anybody. You understand? I take my hat off, the sun might get me."
Which was just another Looieism, meaning that St. John's had to play Tennessee next on the road, and that the Redmen's rear ends were now hanging in the window of Gimbels as well as Macy's.