Jan. 23, 2013
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - JaKarr Sampson scored a game-high 21 points and D'Angelo Harrison added 20 as St. John's shot a blistering 59.1 percent (13-of-22) after the break and used a 17-0 run that extended from the end of the first half and into the second half to defeat Rutgers, 72-60. Winners of three-straight games overall, the Red Storm has won three-straight road games and has four road wins this season.
Harrison reached the 20-point plateau for the 12th time this season, while Sampson finished one point shy of a career-high to lead St. John's (12-7, 4-3). Sir'Dominic Pointer, meanwhile, followed up his first-career double-double with a 13-point, nine-rebound, seven-assist and six-steal effort. The Red Storm shot just 35.5 percent (11-of-31) in the first half, but used the strong second half to finish at a 45.3 percent (25-of-53) clip for the game.
Myles Mack scored 17 points to lead Rutgers (12-6, 3-4), while Mike Poole had 11 and Wally Judge chipped in with 10. The Scarlet Knights were +1 on the boards (41-40), but shot just 36.5 percent (23-of-63) from the floor and 52.9 percent (9-of-17) from the charity stripe.
"I think our aggressiveness and our defense fueled our offense, which is something that we have talked about for the last couple of weeks and has been a continually emerging theme for us as a team," said STJ head coach Steve Lavin. "I think the kids understand now more clearly that when they play defense, it's going to fuel and propel our offense and the numbers bear that out. Defensively we're starting to grow and that's really helping our offense."
After closing the first half on an 8-0 run, St. John's opened the second frame on a 9-0 spurt to cap a 17-0 run and turn a seven-point deficit into a 38-28 lead with 15:02 remaining. Rutgers answered quickly and cut the deficit to three, 38-35, as a Jerome Seagears 3-pointer completed a 7-0 run and prompted a Red Storm timeout at the 13:15 mark.
Sampson scored five-straight points following the timeout, however, and a Harrison 3 later pushed the Red Storm lead into double-digits, 53-42. A Phil Greene IV jumper gave St. John's a 61-48 lead with just 3:33 to play, but Rutgers had one more run and pulled to within seven, 64-57, with 1:13 remaining. The Red Storm went 6-of-6 from the line down the stretch and a Pointer layup with 10 seconds to go gave St. John's a 15-point cushion.
Rutgers led 6-0 after a pair of early 3s and led by as much as nine in the first half when Judge made a layup to give the Scarlet Knights an 18-9 lead at the 9:19 mark. A Judge dunk gave Rutgers a 28-21 lead with 2:42 left, but marked the last points the Scarlet Knights would score before intermission. St. John's then closed out the half on an 8-0 run to erase the deficit and take a 29-28 lead into the locker room.
Keeping the Jersey theme for a second straight game, Seton Hall visits The Garden for a regular season St. John's contest for the first time since 2005-06 on Sunday, Jan. 27 (noon, MSG Network).