Upset after missing out on an opportunity to pull off a massive upset against the rival Syracuse Orange on Dec. 15, the Johnnies emphatically took out its frustration on two nonconference opponents this week.
And some team history was even made in the process.
On Dec. 18, St. John’s returned to Queens to take on the University of San Francisco after losing to Syracuse at Madison Square Garden.
St. John’s and fourth-year coach Steve Lavin, who’s late father Cap was a star at San Francisco in the early 1950s, suffered a stunning upset at the hands of the Dons 81-65 last season, but the outcome of 2013’s contest proved much different.
Despite the family ties, Lavin and the Johnnies showed no mercy on the Dons, as St. John’s rolled to a dominating 81-57 victory and improved to 7-3 on the season.
Freshman guard Rysheed Jordan followed up his solid performance against Syracuse with another consistent all-around game. He appeared in almost every stat category, scoring 10 points, dishing four assists, grabbing three rebounds and recording a steal in just 22 minutes.
The rest of the Johnnies, led by junior guard D’Angelo Harrison’s team-high 18 points, also had solid games offensively. Sophomore star JaKarr Sampson scored 14 points of his own while transfer center Orlando Sanchez scored 10 points.
San Francisco had no answer for the Johnnies defensive pressure, as well. The Red Storm converted 21 San Francisco turnovers into 27 points on their way to the lopsided victory.
Harrison tied the team record for three-pointers in a career with 151, but he wasn’t done making history for the week.
On Dec. 21, it was Youngstown State’s turn to witness Harrison’s remarkable long-range ability. Twenty-six seconds into the contest, he nailed his 152nd career three-pointer, passing Willie Shaw, a Harlem Globetrotter, for most threes in school history.
“It feels great. I’m excited I got it but I think that’s a beatable record,” Harrison said after the game. “It’s good to have it and hopefully I hold onto it for a while, but I couldn’t have done it without those guys.”
While Harrison was making history in Queens, Jordan was away from the team in Philadelphia to be with his ill mother.
The Johnnies were still able to score without Jordan, as the Red Storm prevailed 96-87, but St. John’s struggled defensively. Six Youngstown State players scored in double figures, with guard Kendrick Perry leading the way with 20 points. But they were never able to close to within six points of the Johnnies, as Harrison lit up the Youngstown State defense for 29 points, including five three-pointers. Sampson and Phil Greene IV contributed 16 and 17 points, respectively.
“I think when our defense is getting shutouts and stops, that fuels our offense and that’s when we can go on our runs,” Lavin said. “It’s more about getting a quality shot on offense and today, I think we did that.”
The Johnnies will return to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a Saturday tilt with Columbia at 2:30 p.m. The home of the Brooklyn Nets was not kind to the Johnnies back in late November, when they defeated Georgia Tech but lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Penn State.