By Marc Raimondi
Against Virginia Tech Sunday, St. John's didn't score its first second-half field goal until there was 9:02 left to play, the Red Storm missed their first 13 shots after halftime and committed 20 turnovers for the game.It was a virtual Miracle on 34th Street for the Johnnies to even keep it close in what would eventually be a 54-48 loss to the Hokies in the Holiday Festival championship game at Madison Square Garden. But it's the fact that St. John's stayed in the game – and his team's effort – that coach Norm Roberts was happy with.”It wasn't for the lack of playing hard, it wasn't for the lack of trying, it wasn't for the lack of doing the right things, it wasn't for a lack of going after balls,” Roberts said. “I'd be upset if it was for that and I'd be upset, because we didn't play as hard as we could play.”The Johnnies had only two field goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half and shot 19 percent after halftime. Roberts explained a few missed lay-ups and some mental errors right after halftime discouraged his young players – St. John's has eight freshmen. And when they did get inside, Cheick Diakite was there – the Virginia Tech junior had seven blocked shots. Deron Washington (10 points), who made the tournament team, did a fine job guarding Anthony Mason Jr. (12 points on 4-of-12 shooting), another all-tournament selection.Tech's A.D. Vassallo (16 points) won the Lou Carnesecca Award, given to the Holiday Festival's most valuable player.St. John's 62, Marist 59. Tomas Jasiliunois had a career-high 12 points and Anthony Mason Jr. added 12 of his own to lead the Red Storm over the Red Foxes in the Holiday Festival first round Friday at Madison Square Garden. Hofstra's Charles Jenkins, a Springfield Gardens HS graduate, made the all-tournament team despite the Pride losing both of their games.