The tale of two seasons continues for the bipolar Red Storm. Fresh off a five-game losing streak to begin conference play, St. John’s reeled off three straight wins.
Beginning at home against nonconference opponent Dartmouth on Jan. 18, the Johnnies notched a hard-fought 77-76 win against Big East rival Seton Hall and a blowout 69-52 victory over conference newcomer Butler on Jan. 23 and Jan. 25, respectively.
However, the Johnnies’ winning ways ended on Jan. 28, as the Red Storm fell to the 20th-ranked Creighton Bluejays 63-60 to drop its record to 12-9 on the season.
The team’s first win in Big East play didn’t come easy, as the contest against Seton Hall came down to the final seconds.
With the Johnnies up by one point and the Pirates in possession of the ball with four seconds left, it was junior forward Sir’Dominic Pointer who played the role of hero after throwing the ball out of bounds on the previous play.
Pointer was able to steal the ball from Seton Hall guard Fuquan Edwin, who struggled maintaining his composure in last season’s matchup with the Johnnies after being mercilessly heckled by the St. John’s student section, at midcourt to seal the contest.
Leading scorer D’Angelo Harrison tallied 16 points, as did Orlando Sanchez and JaKarr Sampson in one of the Red Storm’s most balanced offensive games all year.
Against Butler, it was more of the same for the Johnnies. Sampson scored a season-high 20 points while freshman Rysheed Jordan recorded 16 points in addition to Harrison’s 12 points.
St. John’s led by just seven points at halftime, but it was the defensive prowess of the Red Storm that allowed the Johnnies to pull away from the Bulldogs in the second half.
St. John’s held Butler to just 27-percent shooting from the field and 18 points total in the second half, giving the Red Storm arguably it’s most complete win of the season.
Riding high into Omaha, NE for its first conference battle with 20th-ranked Creighton, the Johnnies nearly escaped with a fourth straight win.
With the game tied with three seconds left, National Player of the Year frontrunner Doug McDermott buried his fifth three-pointer of the game to give the Bluejays its 18th win of the season.
McDermott, much like he’s done to almost every defense he’s faced this year, ripped the Johnnies to the tune of 39 points, a season high for the surging superstar, while also snaring six rebounds.
Sampson, Harrison, Jordan and Chris Obekpa all scored double digit points for the Johnnies, but the Red Storm simply couldn’t keep up with McDermott’s shooting.
The Red Storm return to New York to take on Marquette at Madison Square Garden on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. before traveling to Rhode Island to take on Providence on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m.