Steve Lavin’s St. John’s Red Storm seem to be one of the more questionable teams in the country, with their combination of youth, inexperience, and of course, great talent. But two things seem to be answered so far this season: they will go as far as their collective team defense can take them, as well as how unstoppable sophomore D’Angelo Harrison and his new running mate freshman JaKarr Sampson, remain to be on the offensive end.
St. John’s notched their eighth win of the season (8-3) on Saturday over the St. Francis (NY) Terriers by a score of 45-35, mainly due to the dominance of Harrison and Sampson. After going for a combined 31 – of the team’s 45 – points in the first half of Saturday’s win, the Red Storm defense, which as always, was paced by Chris Obekpa and his nine (!!!) blocks, closed out the second half allowing just 25 points on a night where they held St. Francis to 31 percent shooting, further carrying out Lavin’s winning forumla.
While Harrison finished with 25 points, Sampson had 21, making this the fourth straight game that the dynamic duo have finished the game as St. John’s top two scorers. This was Harrison’s eighth game (out of 11) with 20 or more points, and significant for Sampson as well, as it was the first game of the season in which he didn’t start. Despite being the Johnnies second leading scorer on the season (and leading rebounder), Sampson went to the bench in favor of Obekpa, who has proven to be the center (literally and figuratively) of one of the best defenses maybe in all of the nation.
Although Lavin seems to still be figuring out his rotation, he knows who his two go to scorers are. It’s been a great start for a team with a lot of pieces, and even more potential.
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