March 19, 2013
PHILADELPHIA - Sir'Dominic Pointerdrained a game-winning jumper at the buzzer as St. John's shot 55.2 percent after the break to erase a 12-point second half deficit and advance into the NIT Second Round with a 63-61 victory on the road against Saint Joseph's.
"I've never hit a shot like that in college," Pointer said after the game. "It just felt good and to celebrate it with my teammates felt even better."
Pointer finished with 15 points, including a career-high three 3-pointers, seven rebounds and five assists to lead St. John's (17-15), while JaKarr Sampson added a team-high 16 points to go with five rebounds. Phil Greene IV finished with 10 points, Jamal Branch had nine points and five assists, and Chris Obekpaadded six points, eight rebounds and three blocks. After shooting just 36.4 percent (12-of-33) in the first half, the Red Storm fired at a 55.2 percent clip (16-of-29) in the final stanza.
Carl Jones scored a game-high 21 points to lead Saint Joseph's (18-14), while Langston Galloway made four treys as part of a 16-point night and Ronald Roberts had 10 points to give the Hawks three players in double figures. Halil Kanacevic added six points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Hawks, which posted a +6 margin (39-33) on the boards. Saint Joseph's shot 48.1 percent (13-of-27) in the first half, including a 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) effort from long range, but made just 9-of-30 (30.0 percent) field goals after the break.
"Tonight's win was a total team effort by our young Johnnies," said head coach Steve Lavin. "We had a number of contributors highlighted by Sir'Dominic's performance and clutch buzzer beating basket to complete an impressive comeback win. I'm really proud of our kids' resiliency and resolve in finding a way to get a well-deserved victory. By advancing to the next round of the NIT, our young team will continue to gain valuable postseason experience."
Saint Joseph's made a pair of quick 3s to turn a six-point halftime lead into a 12-point advantage, 40-28, at the 18:26 mark. A Pointer dunk closed the gap to seven points, but the Hawks built the lead back to 12 and led 48-36 with 14:33 remaining in regulation.
The Hawks still led by 11 at the 11:03 mark before Pointer buried his third 3 to cap an 11-3 run that cut the Red Storm deficit to just three, 54-51, with 7:25 to go. After a fastbreak layup from Amir Garrettpulled St. John's to within one, another fastbreak layup from Garrett gave St. John's its first lead since the first half at 57-56.
An Obekpa dunk with 2:03 to go gave the Red Storm a four-point lead, its largest of the game, but Roberts made a pair of free throw with 5.7 seconds left to level the score at 61-61. St. John's then inbounded and Pointer raced up the court and beat the buzzer with a jumper to give the Red Storm a 63-61 win.
The Hawks opened the game with six unanswered points and led by eight, 14-6, at the 14:57 mark of the first half. St. John's answered as Pointer drained a pair of 3s as part of a 10-0 run that put the Red Storm up 16-14. The Hawks responded with a run of their own, however, as 3s from Galloway and Jones helped key an 8-0 run that put Saint Joseph's up 29-20 with 6:21 to play before halftime.
St. John's advances to face Virginia in the Second Round. Game date and time are to be determined.