"It was very important," McClinton said of the victory. "All week in practice we worked on the little things that set us back against Clemson. We wanted to come into this game more focused than ever with it being Christmas break. Everybody stayed focused and came out and played pretty well today."
McClinton seemed to have a lot of confidence in this game, making shots from all over the court.
"When you're in the flow of the game, you really don't look at where you are on the floor," he said. "Coach Haith always tells me if I have an open look to take the shot. When you have your head coach telling you that, it gives you that much more confidence."
"He practiced well," Haith said. "We had three days of practice and I told our guys – our post guys in particular – that he earned it with how hard he practiced. Julian is a real active player, he's long and he gets his hands on a lot of balls. He earned it based on what he did in practice. And Jimmy is not quite 100 percent. So it was an opportunity for Julian to get those minutes."
Haith was happy the way the team responded after losing to Clemson on Sunday.
"I thought they did well," he said. "There were only about five or six plays where I thought we had some breakdown today. We've got to be able to handle success a little bit better; we've got to be able to sustain when we get a lead. We'd get a 10-point lead and all the sudden we'd relax and take a couple of plays off. We've got to shrink that number from six or seven to none. After the Clemson game it was all about toughness, it was all about doing things the right way all the time -- defensively, closing out, taking away vision, boxing out… I was really concerned about St. John's ability to rebound. We made an effort to understand that we have to box out every time. I thought our guards and our bigs both did a good job of that."
Quincy Roberts led St. John's (9-3) with 14 points. Head coach Norm Roberts talked about his team's performance.
"I am always disappointed if we get beat, always, always," he said. "But I thought we tried hard. I told our guys nobody is going to feel sorry for you. Take the three best players off anybody's team and see what happens. We lost quite a few players and other guys just have to step up and play, that's just how it is. I told the guys nobody is going to feel sorry for you, it's a great opportunity for the young guys to step up and play. Take McClinton and Collins off their team and they are not the same team. Not the same team at all and that's what we have going on right now and we have to battle through it and be tough."
The Hurricanes have now won four of their last five games and will host the University of North Florida in their next game on Wednesday.