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.
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