NEW YORK -- St. Anthony's came into the SNY Invitational looking to become the first team ever to win the event three times since its inception in 2008.
Bob Hurley and the Friars previously won the championship in 2011 and '13.
But after losing by one point to St. Raymond on Friday night, the Friars had to settle for a consolation game Saturday afternoon. They made the most of it, routing Mount Vernon, 76-54, to secure third place in the event.
"I was just very mad that we lost [Friday], that we dropped the ball...so that kind of fueled my play today," said junior guard Ithiel Horton, who led St. Anthony's with a career-high 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Howard-bound guard R.J. Cole added 20 points and six assists and junior big man Savior Akuwovo tallied 12 points and four rebounds.
Cole has been the most reliable scorer all year for St. Anthony's (12-3) but he said it helps to have a second scorer like the 6-foot-2 Horton step up.
"It helps a lot because teams are keying on me so much and I can't do everything for the team," Cole said. "And then when [Horton] comes in he provides a spark."
"Our deal right now is four in double [figures]," Hurley said. "[Horton and Cole] should be in doubles, Alexander Rice [nine points] should be in doubles and Nigel Marshall [eight]. But if we get in four in doubles and we're defensively better than we were [Friday], it was the first time anybody got 60 points against us, this here was [Friday'soutcome]."
Uncommitted senior big man Gregory Calixte scored 15 points and uncommitted guard Noah Morgan had 11 for Mount Vernon, which is now 0-4 in the SNY Invitational across the last two seasons. Mount Vernon lost to Christ the King on Friday.
St. Anthony's recently had a 41-game winning streak dating back to last season snapped with a loss to rival The Patrick School at the Dan Finn Classic in Jersey City. Entering Saturday, they had lost three of their previous five games.
But now they will take this win over Mount Vernon into the final month of the regular season before the New Jersey State tournament begins in late February. The Friars are the defending Tournament of Champions winner, but will likely be an underdog this season, with The Patrick School as the favorite.
"We can just play hard," Horton said. "Every day come out and practice, just get better and work hard and see where it takes us."
Hurley said it's important for his team to not let the tough schedule discourage it going forward. The Friars visit Bergen Catholic Monday and Newark East Side Thursday.
"Just letting yesterday disappear, just play today," he said. "Because if we had any linger from [Friday], how good is Mount Vernon for us to still be feeling bad about [Friday's] game? Can't do it. It's disrespectful to them and it's a bad way in life to teach moving on from difficult things."