continued In the opening minutes of the second half, SU stretched its lead back to double digits. Christmas showed that he is not just an inside scorer drilling a 20-foot shot that lured an animated crowd to their feet. On the next possession Eric Akins had the ball stolen that led to a breakaway conversion by Fair.
Christmas then converted a follow up dunk off a struggling Triche missed shot. Cooney sank his first 3-pointer from the wing, and Christmas hit again off the glass to boost their lead to 43-28 with 11:08 left
Though ND cut it to 43-34, SU responded well polishing off the Irish with a 13-4 run. Fair, Grant, and Christmas accounted for the majority of the points, while the defense played exceptionally well allowing only two ND players (Cooley and Grant) to score in double figures.
Then, on Sunday, SU fans got just what they wanted when Southerland came back, ending his six-game absence by scoring 13 points as the Orange beat St. John's 77-58.
Southerland struggled in the opening half missing all four shots he attempted, before coming on strong in the second half delivering consecutive 3-pointers that widened SU's lead to a more comfortable margin. Southerland logged in an erratic 26 minutes, but finished four-for-10 from the floor.
“I felt confident," said Southerland. "I feel like I took a lot of pressure off the guys just being in uniform and playing. It definitely felt great. I was kind of hoping it came a little sooner, but I cannot complain.”
Fair added 17 points and nine rebounds, and Triche contributed 16 points. Grant performed well for SU during Southerland's absence, averaging 10.3 points per contest. But against the Red Storm, Grant only played 10 minutes and scored four point. Will there be any controversy deciding how to split the amount of playing time between both players?