St. John’s came back to win two games this holiday weekend, first beating Holy Cross 65-63 and than coming from behind again to top Florida Gulf Coast, 79-68, Saturday night at Carneseca Arena.
D’Angelo Harrison led the Red Storm in scoring against Florida with 20 points, 18 of them coming in the second half. When St. John’s hit the locker room at the half, they were trailing by four points and being badly out-rebounded, trailing by nine in that stat.
“We know we haven’t been rebounding well all year,” said Sir’Dominic Pointer after the game. “And with us being down by that many rebounds at halftime, Coach Lavin told us that to win the game we would have to out-rebound them by 10 the rest of the way.”
At the end of the game, St. John’s had out-rebounded Florida Gulf Coast 33-31.
“We’ve just finished six games in twelve days, and while we are still a work in progress, I’m pleased with our ability to fight back,” said Coach Steve Lavin. “We’ve also shown an ability to stay poised and maintain our composure and find a way to win games. There are no moral victories, and we’d like to win every game, but given where we are as a program we are pleased with our gradual maturation over the course of the last twelve days.”
In the game against Holy Cross, JaKarr Sampson scored 20 points, Harrison scored 17, and Phil Green IV added 15 points to his amazing 10 blocked shots.
After the game, Lavin said there were stretches in the second half where St. John’s “played our best basketball of the season.”
“It’s still very early,” he said. “Anything that I say that’s positive is always in the context of guarded optimism, because we’re still learning who we are as a basketball team.
“In the first half we didn’t apply the necessary pressure on the ball, and as a result, they were able to pick us apart with their high-low game,” he added. “They were getting easy basket after easy basket in the paint, but in the second half we were able to solve both our interior and perimeter defense.”
St. John’s plays host to South Carolina in Queens on Thursday, Nov. 29, as part of the second-annual SEC/Big East Challenge.
All Photos: Kenneth B. Goldberg