The win improves St. John’s to a 2-0 record on the still-young season.
“We were disappointed with our first-half performance defensively,” said St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin. “We made adjustments in the second half and as a result we pulled away for a win.”
D’Angelo Harrison scored 31 points to go with a career-high 17 rebounds. Rysheed Jordan added 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Phil Greene IV contributed 18 points.
Trailing by seven at the break, St. John’s needed just 1:50 to level the score as a pair of Harrison free throws completed a 7-0 run that tied the game at 50-50 with 18:10 to play. After a Jordan jumper gave St. John’s a 52-50 advantage, its first lead since the 18:22 mark of the first half, a pair of Harrison 3s helped extend the run to 21-0 and push the lead to 64-50 at the 13:29 mark.
“That’s St. John’s basketball right there,” said Harrison after the game. “Defense, execution and rebounding led up to a lot of run outs. When we are in transition, it is hard to guard us.”
St. John’s got the 2014 campaign off to a good start last Friday with a victory over NJIT, but Lavin still saw plenty of room for improvement in that contest.
“Overall I was pleased with our defense, but there are a number of areas that we need to improve on,” he said following that game. “I wasn’t pleased with the end of the first half or our end-of-game execution, but I thought the overall defensive effort was solid.”
Chris Obekpa and Sir’Dominic Pointer each finished the game with double-doubles, and five Red Storm players reached double-figures to lead St. John’s to a season-opening 77-58 victory.
Obekpa scored a career-high 13 points and matched a career-high with 13 rebounds as part of his first-career double-double effort, while Pointer totaled 13 points and 10 rebounds to give St. John’s two double-doubles in a game for the first time since Dec. 1, 2011, against then-No. 1 Kentucky.
“It’s good that we ran into this problem in tonight’s game so that we can learn from it for the next games,” Obekpa said.
St. John’s returns to action at Carnesecca Arena and continues play in the NIT Season Tip-Off on Nov. 19 with a 7:30 p.m. game against LIU Brooklyn. The game will be carried live on ESPN3.