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Dec. 30, 1997

Notre Dame Falls to St. John's

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) - Lavor Postell scored a career-high 21 points and St. John's made all but four of its free throws Tuesday to beat Notre Dame 79-69.

The Red Storm (9-4, 1-2 Big East) led almost the entire game, but they couldn't quite put it away until the final minutes. That's when the free throw show began.

First it was Postell, hitting two. Then Collin Charles added two more. Felipe Lopez knocked down a 3-pointer - St. John's final basket - before Ron Artest broke the streak, missing his second shot at the charity stripe.

Charles hit another four and Lopez added two before Pat Garrity interrupted the St. John's run with a 3-pointer - the first field goal for Notre Dame (7-3, 1-1) in four minutes, but it was too late. St. John's had a 76-64 lead with 1:18 left.

Garrity led the Irish with 27, and Antoni Wyche had a career-high 20 points.

Lopez had 19 points for St. John's, and Zendon Hamilton added 16. Collins scored nine - all from the charity stripe.

St. John's was 24-of-28 from the free-throw line.

St. John's looked as if it was going to pull away early in the second half when Notre Dame got a little sloppy. Shannon Crooks converted on a three-point play after he stole the ball and was fouled by Irish point guard Martin Ingelsby as he put up a layup. Lopez followed with a layin, and St. John's had a 43-34 lead with 15:52 left.

But, just like he did all night, Wyche came through. He drilled a 3-pointer and later hit two free throws to cut the lead to 43-41. He tied the game at 52 with another 3-pointer, but the Irish went cold and St. John's took control fo the game for good.

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