Nov. 08, 2013
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - St. John's battled back from an 18-point first half deficit and trailed by just four points with 8:29 remaining, but No. 20/21 Wisconsin used a late 8-0 run to pull away and defeat the Red Storm, 86-75, in the 2013 season-opener for both teams at the brand-new Pentagon by Sanford Health.
D'Angelo Harrison scored a game-high 27 points, while JaKarr Sampson finished with 21 points and seven boards to lead St. John's (0-1). The Red Storm shot 48.3 percent (28-of-58) from the floor, finished even on the boards and dominated play down low with a 44-24 scoring advantage in the paint, but also committed 12 turnovers, 10 in the first half, and made just 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) shots from beyond the arc. Rysheed Jordan played 24 minutes in his collegiate-debut and finished with six points, three rebounds and three assists.
"We knew in advance of playing this game that Wisconsin would be a worthy opponent. This challenge presented an opportunity for our team to grow. We are disappointed with the loss, but now have a checklist of deficiencies that we will take home with us as we head into a week of practice in preparation for our next game," said head coach Steve Lavin. "We got off to a poor start at both ends of the court. We rallied in the second half to within four, but we allowed them to make critical shots from distance and they converted from the foul line to close out the game. Clearly we need to improve as a team in order to execute more effectively at both ends of the court."
Josh Gasser had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead five players in double-figures for Wisconsin (1-0). Sam Dekker added 16 points, Ben Brust and Duje Dukan added 15 apiece, and Traevon Jackson finished with 13 points. The Badgers drained 11-of-23 (47.8 percent) 3-pointers on the night to pace the offensive attack and also fired at an 83.3 percent clip (25-of-30) from the charity stripe.
A Gasser 3-pointer put Wisconsin up 15 as the Badgers opened the second half on a 7-0 run and led 40-25 with 17:43 remaining in regulation. A Chris Obekpa dunk cut the deficit to 10 before a pair of Harrison free throws pulled the Red Storm to within eight, 44-36, with 14:54 to play. Wisconsin, however, quickly pushed its lead back up to 11 points, 53-42.
The Red Storm had one more run as a pair of Sampson dunks bookended a 12-5 rally that pulled St. John's to within four points, 58-54, at the 8:29 mark. The Badgers had an answer, though, as consecutive 3-pointers pushed the Wisconsin lead back to 10 with 7:46 to go. A Harrison 3 cut the deficit to seven with 6:04 remaining, but the Red Storm would get no closer.
St. John's trailed by just four points, 11-7, after a Sampson jumper, but Wisconsin answered with a 13-5 run to open up a 24-12 advantage with 8:41 left in the first half. A Gasser trey helped the Badgers open up their largest lead of the game, a 31-13 advantage at the 5:45 mark, and Wisconsin still led by 18 points, 33-15, with just 4:03 to go. A pair of Obekpa free throws, however, opened a quick 8-0 run that was capped by a Sir'Dominic Pointer layup as the Red Storm closed to within 10 points with 2:02 remaining and trailed 35-23 at halftime.
St. John's returns to action on Nov. 15, hosting Wagner at Carnesecca Arena for a 6 p.m. game that will air on FOX Sports 2.