Feb. 20, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) - It's clear that St. John's five-man freshman lineup - the "Fresh Five" - is the foundation for the Red Storm's future. That doesn't mean, however, they're incapable of impressing in the present.
Rookie guard D'Angelo Harrison scored 23 points - marking his 11th 20-plus point performance of the season - and freshman forward Amir Garrett added a season-high 18 with a career-high nine boards to lead St. John's to a 79-72 victory over DePaul on Monday night and a season sweep of the regular-season series.
Their classmate, first-year swingman Moe Harkless added 14 points and grabbed his 10th rebound at the buzzer to record his 11th double-double, placing him in a fifth-place tie among all active BIG EAST leaders, regardless of class. Freshman floor general Phil Greene scored 10 with three assists and three steals, while defensive dynamo Sir'Dominic Pointer contributed nine points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals in his second-straight impressive overall performance.
The Red Storm (12-16, 5-10 BIG EAST) has won two-straight after losing four in a row and now owns sole possession of 11th place in the 16-team conference. Harrison, now with 479 first-year points, is only 21 away from tying the St. John's all-time freshman scoring record. Harkless, with 438 points, is not far behind. The record currently belongs to Erick Barkley, who netted 500 even in his 1998-99 rookie campaign.
"Tonight's balanced attack offensively is an indication our team is maturing in decision making. For the second-consecutive game we closed out a game in impressive fashion. A better understanding of time and score as well as our strong conditioning is paying dividends," head coach Steve Lavin Tweeted after the game from his official account, @STJCoachLavin. "Amir continues to blossom with each passing practice and game opportunity. D'Angelo had another mature performance of timely playmaking and shotmaking. Maurice continued his yeoman's effort on the glass and paint leading to another double-double. Phil's stewardship and control of tempo was vital to the victory. Dominic is a catalyst for our team at both ends of the court."
The St. John's coaching staff wore blue bow ties as part of On The Line "Statement Week," an effort to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Lavin underwent prostate cancer surgery on Oct. 6. He coached four games in November before being told by doctors to follow a modified schedule that keeps him off the bench but allows him to attend practices and recruit.
Cleveland Melvin had 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the Blue Demons (11-16, 2-13), which have lost seven straight and 12-of-13.
St. John's had two field goals - the second with 10 seconds left - over the final 4:46 but the Red Storm went 10-for-12 from the free throw line over that span to hold off DePaul, which stayed within six points until the final basket. The Red Storm came into the game shooting 68.3 percent from the line.
Brandon Young added 17 points and Jamee Crockett had 15 but he was 1-for-11 from 3-point range. The Blue Demons, who came in shooting 34.1 percent from beyond the arc, finished 6-of-31 (19.4 percent). St. John's forced DePaul into 18 turnovers, which the Red Storm harvested into 24 points.
Garrett's previous high was 12 points in the first game against the Blue Demons. He came in averaging 6.2 points. Garrett, a 6-foot-6 left-hander from Los Angeles whose fastball has been clocked at 96 mph, was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 22nd round in June. He signed a contract with a $1 million signing bonus in August and will begin his professional baseball career this summer.
This was the last game of the season at on-campus Carnesecca Arena where the Red Storm went 7-1. The Red Storm next welcomes Notre Dame to The Garden on Saturday, Feb. 25, for a noon tilt on ESPN. The matchup with the No. 20/18 Irish marks St. John's final regular-season home game of the year.