Dec. 21, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. (AP) - Tied at halftime with Youngstown State and trailing badly on the glass in the last contest before the Christmas Break, St. John's head coach Steve Lavin challenged his team to put forth a better effort in the second stanza.
Clearing the proverbial visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads, the Red Storm would respond before a crowd of 4,248 gathered at Carnesecca Arena for the annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Night and Toy Drive. St. John's fired at a 59.3 percent clip in the second half (16-of-27) and scored a season-high 53 second-period points en route to a 96-87 victory, running the Red Storm's season record to 8-3.
"Our kids showed some resourcefulness to get the W," said Lavin. "Shooting 59 percent in the second half, we were very efficient and it was kind of a subtle, or quiet, near 100-point performance. There were some good things, but there are clearly areas we need to continue to work on and we are looking forward to being back at full strength again when Rysheed [Jordan] returns."
Lavin had announced before the game that rookie guard Rysheed Jordan would miss the contest while in Philadelphia, at the side of his ill mother, Amina Robinson.
Meanwhile, junior guard D'Angelo Harrison wasted little time to once-again cement his name into the St. John's record books. Harrison needed all of 26 seconds to become St. John's all-time leader in made 3-pointers and finished with 29 points to key the Red Storm to the pre-Holiday win, its fourth in five games.
Harrison's first triple, a straight-away shot from the top of the arc, gave him the record of 152. The previous record holder was Willie Shaw, who made 151 between 2000 and 2003. Harrison finished 5-for-6 from 3-point range as part of an overall 8-of-12 (.667) team effort from distance.
The five made 3-pointers were the most for Harrison since he made six vs. Villanova on Jan. 2, 2012, in overtime, and the 29 points were his most since recording a career high of 36 in the same game. Harrison also grabbed six boards and dealt four assists with no turnovers.
Junior guard Phil Greene IV added 17 points via 7-of-11 field goals and a 2-for-2 mark from beyond the arc, to which he added three assists and three steals. Sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson posted his fourth-career double-double and first of the season with 16 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Junior swingman Sir'Dominic Pointer added a career-high 16 to go along with four assists, three steals and two rebounds in 25 minutes.
Kendrick Perry led Youngstown State (8-6) with 20 points. Youngstown State made 45.5 percent of its shots from the field for the game, but the Penguins were limited to four of their 15 attempted 3-pointers in the second half. St. John's was also able to turn 16 Penguin turnovers into 20 points.
St. John's took control of what had been a taut affair in the second half. The Red Storm went on a 13-6 run in a span of 3:30 midway through the second half to turn a slight 57-53 lead to a 70-59 advantage. Youngstown State cut the lead to six, 72-66, after Keene's made 3 with 9:45 left. But that was as close as they Penguins would get.
Following Keene's basket, St. John's went on a 15-8 run, highlighted by two Orlando Sanchez dunks. Sanchez finished with nine points, all in the second half.
The game was only the second all-time between the Big East and Horizon League programs. St. John's won the first matchup, 75-65, on Nov. 29, 1986.
St. John's and Columbia tip-off in the first game of the 2013 BROOKLYN HOOPS Winter Festival on Saturday, Dec. 28 (2:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1), an event that also includes Kansas State vs. Tulane and VCU vs. Boston College. The appearance comes one month after St. John's Thanksgiving stint in the Barclays Center Classic (1-1).