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JaKarr Sampson, D’Angelo Harrison Get St. John’s Revenge Win Over Rutgers

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Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John’s Red Storm were talking an unhealthy amount of trash about their rematch with Rutgers before Wednesday night’s match-up, fortunately for them, they backed it up.

After losing a 58-56 nail-biter at home on Jan. 9, the consensus amongst the teams best players was that it was a game that St. John’s lost more so than a game that the Scarlet Knights had won. “We should have easily won that game,’’ said St. John’s leading scorer, sophomore D’Angelo Harrison, who despite leading his team in scoring in the loss, shot poorly from the field. “Having a chance to play them again is great.’’

Freshman JaKarr Sampson, who also struggled in the first matchup, was eager for Wednesday night’s tilt as well. “I felt like we were the better team than them, and we just pretty much gave them the game. It’s always good to have a second chance.’’

Well when given their second chance, the Red Storm played one of their better games of the season in defeating Rutgers 72-60. Harrison and Sampson combined for 41 points, and great team defense helped secure an important win in the dog days of Big East play.

“We took care of business,” said a smiley Sampson after the win. As good as the Johnnies dynamic scoring duo was, the different in this rematch was sophomore forward Sir’Dominic Pointer, who added 13 points and nine rebounds, oh wait we’re just getting started, to go along with seven assists and six steals in the feel good win.

Having a third contributor – as unfair as that is to say because Chris Obekpa has been every bit as good on defense as Harrison has been on offense – really makes life easier for the isolation heavy Harrison and Sampson duo, and it showed Wednesday night, especially with Pointer going to town in the paint.

Head coach Steve Lavin has to feel good about the progress his young team is making, as good defense is leading to better offense, and the team is really starting to click. They have a couple of easier games coming up with home games against Seton Hall and DePaul.

The motto continues to be “one game at a time” for this bunch.

For hoops, hip-hop and other random sports and pop culture commentary, follow Jared Mintz on Twitter @JaredMintzTruth

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NCAA Tournament Profile: St. John's Red Storm

Record: 21-11

RPI: 37

BPI: 51

Conference: Big East Conference

How They Qualified: At-Large Berth

Region: No. 9 seed in South

 

The St. John’s Red Storm have been a tough puzzle to solve ever since Steve Lavin took over as head coach. Lavin has recruited like a boss, but his teams simply have not met expectations. Well, his team didn’t blow us all away this year, but it will be partaking in the 2015 NCAA tournament. It is all about those baby steps.

This is the Red Storm’s first appearance since 2011. Needless to say, the team was well overdue.

 

What You Need to Know:

Leading Scorer: D’Angelo Harrison (17.5 PPG)

Leading Rebounder: Sir’Dominic Pointer (7.6 RPG)

Leading Passer: Rysheed Jordan (3.1 APG)

Bad Losses: DePaul, Creighton, Seton Hall

Good Wins: Providence (twice), Xavier (twice), Syracuse, Georgetown

 

If everything comes together, St. John’s could be one of the biggest surprises of the tournament. That may be asking for a lot, though. This team did lose 11 times on the season.

If you are looking for a player who can score at will, look no further than D’Angelo Harrison. Harrison is a senior, so you better believe he will be playing every game like it is his last because … well, every game could realistically be his last. Fun fact: Harrison has averaged over 16 points per game all four years at St. John’s — he is the real deal, folks.

St. John’s wasn’t the most consistent team in the country, so it will be interesting to see which Red Storm team shows up — the one that lost three in a row at one point, or the one that started the season off with an 11-1 record.

The St. John’s Red Storm are dancing!

Trevor Lowry is a Content Associate at RantSports.com. If you’re a tweeter feel free to follow him @TheTrevorLowry, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

Will this finally be the year that Steve Lavin coaches his St. John's Red Storm on a deep run? Whether the case, they enter the dance with some talent.

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