St. John’s had their biggest win of the season on Saturday afternoon, going on the road to beat Cincinnati, who is ranked 14th in the country, 53-52. The Red Storm are now 9-5 and 1-1 in Big East play.
St. John’s was led by JaKarr Sampson with 16 points, but it was D’Angelo Harrison who proved to be clutch once again. Harrison had 15 points, but 13 of them came in the second half.
St. John’s led by as many as 12 in the second half, but Cincinnnati’s Cashmere Wright hit two three-pointers as part of an 8-0 run to make it 48-46 St. John’s with 3:18 left.
Harrison made a three-pointer to make it 51-47 St. John’s, but Wright struck again for the Bearcats, as he hit a layup to give them a 51-51 lead with 53 seconds left.
St. John’s was not done, and D’Angelo Harrison proved to be clutch once again, hitting the game-winning jumper with 29 seconds left that made it 53-52.
St. John’s is proving to be a defensive force, as they held the Bearcats to 31.7 percent shooting and won the rebounding battle 40-34.
St. John’s Head Coach Steve Lavin said of the win, “I told them there are certain intersections or crossroads in every season- sometimes there are many of them- where a team needs a signature victory.
I said, ‘You guys, not me, are the authors of victories. You’re the engineers and the architects. Why not today? Why don’t we take this opportunity today to flip it and outrebound Cincinnati so that we can win?'”
Lavin continued, “They came through. The ball bounces your way when you’re aggressive. You tend to make a shot like D’Angelo did and you tend to get the officials’ call. The more aggressive team makes their breaks.”
The Red Storm’s next game will be at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night against Rutgers, who beat No. 24 Pittsburgh 67-62 at the RAC in Piscataway, NJ, on Saturday morning. Eli Carter led Rutgers with 23 points.
Rutgers is now 10-3 and 1-1 in Big East play, and are in a similar spot as St. John’s. They are not looked at as an elite team, but statement wins like this will make people notice. This could be a nice metropolitan area rivalry to watch this season.