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Theodorakis/News Paris Horne drives to the basket for two of his eight points in the Red Storm's win.Related Stories   Weiss: Johnnies look to zig on Zags   St. John's basketball   in good shape for next season with D'Angelo Harrison, JaKarr Sampson returning   St. John’s opens NIT Tournament against St. Joseph's, looks to make deep run and play at Madison Square Garden again   After missing out on NCAA Tournament, St. John's basketball lands NIT berth, 28th in school history Steve Lavin is an inspiring speaker on most topics, but on his first victory as St. John's coach, not so much. After the Red Storm had come back from a halftime deficit to post a 79-66 victory over Columbia in its home opener, he used words such as "pleased" and "relieved."He was more revealing in his plans for later Wednesday night with legendary Purdue coach-turned-St. John's special assistant Gene Keady, his mentor."I told  Troy Tulowitzki Jersey Coach Keady I don't usually drink Maker's Mark, but I think I'm ready to have a Maker's Mark with him (now)," Lavin said.There was a lot for them to toast. Not many coaches could have had a better day than Lavin did Wednesday. Not only did his team bounce back from a season-opening loss on the West Coast just 40 hours earlier and then presented him with the game ball, Lavin ended the fall signing period with arguably the St. John's best recruiting class ever.Earlier in the day 6-7 Amir Garrett from Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, another high school star, signed with the Red Storm. An All-State selection last year after averaging 16.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists at Lawndale (Calif.) Luezinger High, he chose the Johnnies over Oregon.St. John's has eight recruits signed, and most national recruiting services say six of the eight are among the 20 best at their position."I'd say today was better than Monday or Tuesday," Lavin said.In the game that ended at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, New York time, the Storm was done in by a St. Mary's (Calif.) team that got hot from the three-point line. SJU got another dose of that in the first half Wednesday night when Columbia made eight of nine at one point and went from trailing 24-12 to leading 39-35 at halftime.Lavin took the blame, saying he had "over-substituted" because he didn't make enough changes against St. Mary's.St. John's (1-1) turned the tables on the Lions (1-2) in the second half. The Johnnies made five of   their first six three-pointers including four straight - by Dwayne Polee II, Paris Horne, Malik Boothe and Malik Stith - for a 12-5 run that put them up 58-51. They cemented things with an 8-0 burst capped by Polee's tip-in for a 66-53 edge.D.J. Kennedy had 18 points, Brownlee 15 points, Stith 11 points and Polee 10 points and nine rebounds for the Johnnies (1-1). Noruwa Agho had 18 points and Dyami Starks 16 points to pace Columbia. Starks had 15 points, all on three-pointers, in the first half, but as Horne said, "in  Yankees Jerseys For Women the second half we got to him."Lavin's presence appears to have given the Storm's 10 seniors a fresh outlook after three years of failing in their quest to reach the NCAA Tournament."We really wanted to get this win for coach Lav," Justin Burrell said. "We definitely should have gotten it Wednesday. He's  Charles Woodson Jersey our guy. He really helped us get our minds straight and get our focus together. We kind of didn't come through last night.""He  Heat Miami Jersey instilled winning in us," Horne said. "He believes we can win and go far as a team and we believe that."
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