Red Storm Reigns Over Lobos

Lance Armstrong Will Reeves

Fran Fraschilla's latest meeting with St. John's's didn't end any better than the last one.

The No. 15 Red Storm, led by Lavor Postell's 20 points and Reggie Jessie's 17 rebounds, beat their former coach and New Mexico 70-62 in Saturday night's consolation game of the CoSIDA Classic.

Dayton and Samford, which beat St. John's 68-60 in Friday's tournament opener, played in the championship game.

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  • Fraschilla coached at St. John's for two years and led the school to the NCAA tournament in 1998. He was fired after that season when he expressed an interest in the then vacant job at Arizona State.

    Postell's clutch shooting, Jessie's work on the boards and St. John's quickness and superior athleticism wore down the Lobos (1-2) in the game's final four minutes.

    Postell, one of the current St. John's players who played for Fraschilla, repeatedly hit clutch baskets when New Mexico cut into the Red Storm's leads and hit 10 of 11 free throws.

    "Me and coach (Fraschilla) had a great relationship," Postell said. "But he's at New Mexico now and I'm at St. John's. On the court, it became all business. I could tell he was emotional at the end."

    As the final seconds ticked away, Fraschilla walked over to the St. John's bench and shook hands with his successor, Mike Jarvis and his staff, then hugged Postell and Erick Barkley, another of Fraschilla's former recruits.

    "He taught me how to hustle. He taught me how to have heart at clutch moments," Postell said. "It was good to have a good game against them, but I had a lot of help."

    New Mexico repeatedly rallied from 9- and 10-point deficits and took only its second lead of the game at 57-54 on a 3-pointer by Kevin Henry with 4:53 left.

    St. ohn's (1-1) then got five straight points. Barkley hit the first of two free throws and Jessie rebounded Barkley's miss and scored. Postell was fouled by New Mexico's Damion Walker on Jessie's basket and hit two free throws to put St. John's in front for good, 60-57.

    Lamont Long, who scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds, hit a short jumper to get the Lobos within a point, but Postell and Jessie scored inside and the Red Storm pulled away.

    Fraschilla, who had downplayed the game with St. John's, said afterwards he was glad it was over.

    "Those guys that I recruited, it was good to see them," he said. "It was good to hug them and talk to them. It was a tough way to open my career here, but now we can go on."

    Jarvis discounted the hype over the Fraschilla vs. St. John's angle.

    "We didn't talk about it one minute," Jarvis said. "Leave that to wrestling and maybe boxing. All that other stuff is totally blown out of proportion."

    Fraschilla said he couldn't fault his new team's effort, but the Lobos just aren't at the Red Storm's level.

    "I can't get mad at my guys," he said. "They'd jump and a red shirt would go up a little higher. These are tough kids at St. John's. They came out with something to prove. We have to keep recruiting, and we will."

    St. John's got 19 offensive rebounds and forced New Mexico into 20 turnovers.

    Barkley finished with 14 points and Jessie scored 12.

    Wayland White scored 13 for New Mexico, Kevin Henry 11 and John Robinson 10.

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