Pointer Propels St. John’s Past Providcnce

The St. John’s Red Storm scored an impressive win over Providence 75-66 on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. This was a nice response to tough losses to Duke and Creighton.

St. John’s improved to 14-7 overall and 3-5 in Big East Conference play, with a big game on Tuesday at Butler. They are now in 8th place in the Big East standings. Providence fell to 16-6 and 6-3 in Big East play, and they are tied for third with Butler in the Big East standings.

St. John’s was led by Sir’Dominic Pointer, who had 20 points on 6-10 shooting, 1-1 on threes, with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Phil Greene IV had 16 points (6-13  FG, 1-4 threes), 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. D’Angelo Harrison had 15 points on 5-for-12 shooting, including 2-6 on threes, both of which were huge, and 3 rebounds. Ryshees Jordan, embroiled in a Twitter controversy, had 14 points (5-6 FG, 1-1 on threes), 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. Chris Obepka had 8 points (4-9 FG), 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks.

St. John’s got off to a quick start as they jumped out to a 44-32 lead at halftime. In the second half, Chris Obepka dunked one that gave them a 10-point lead, 53-43, with 15:13 remaining. The Red Storm kept it around there, with Greene getting a jumper to make it 57-49 with 9:57 left. Providence responded with a 6-0 run, including two baskets from Tyler Harris, to cut it 57-55 St. John’s with 8:32 left.

Instead of folding, as has become the norm, St. John’s held tough and responded with a 10-2 run capped by a D’Angelo Harrison three that drove the crowd into a frenzy and made it 67-57 with 4:48 left. Harrison hit his other three of the game earlier in the 10-2 run.

Pointer followed that up with a stretch in which he made five straight free throws, the last of which made it 72-62 with 1:17 remaining, which sealed the win.


Head Coach Steve Lavin

Opening Statement:

“I’m proud of our team for delivering a hard-fought victory against the first-place team in our league. I thought we sustained a high level of effort today. We knew Providence was going to make a run because they are a good team, but we managed to execute on both ends of the floor down the stretch in order to win this game.”

On the 10-0 run and execution in the second half after Providence got within two points:

“Overall, that was the key offensive sequence today. Our ability to be aggressive but still use clock helped us put distance between us and Providence after they had made their run. I’m very pleased with our execution over the last four minutes of the game as we salted this victory away.”

On Chris Obekpa’s performance tonight:

“[Chris] Obekpa was the anchor of our defense at the rim. The resistance he provides is critical to our defensive schemes. He also has the foot speed to step away from the basket and handle those pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop situations [Kris] Dunn was involved with. He’s long enough, quick enough and intelligent enough to disrupt opponent’s schemes. Chris shows impressive intelligence at the defensive end of the court. I thought his basketball intellect was on display today.”

On this year’s team:

“All along I’ve really liked this basketball team. From our 11-1 start to where we are now, I’ve never come off being bold on what a special group this is. It is a special group. Independent of a particular outcome of a game, I like the character, makeup and fiber of this team.”​

Senior Guard D’Angelo Harrison

On today’s performance:

“We definitely played with a sense of urgency. We let the Creighton game slip away and knowing that Providence had the best record in our league, we wanted to show that we could play anyone in the BIG EAST or in the country. Everybody was ready to play. It was a good win for us today.”

On the upcoming game against Butler on Tuesday night:

“We want to keep the momentum going. We’ll watch the film [from today], flush it, get some shots up tomorrow, [take] lots of free throws and get ready to go out and beat them.”

On his shot selection as of late:

“I take shots that are open for me and when I need to make plays for my team. [Sir’Dominic Pointer] had 20 today. He’s been killing it for the past few weeks and Phil [Greene IV] has been killing it too, so I let them do what they have to do. When it’s time for me to step up and shoot a big shot or shoot the ball then I do it.”

On approaching the 2,000-point career mark:

“I didn’t know until Phil and Dom told me when I got into the locker room. I don’t like to know stuff like that. I like looking at stuff like that after the season. I’m just glad we won. We beat the best team in the conference and that’s all that matters. Of course I would’ve liked to do it at home, but I just want to get the win at Butler. If I scored zero points and we win, I would take that over three points and a loss.”

Senior Forward Sir’Dominic Pointer 

On his improved confidence this season:

“Coach [Lavin] has been telling me to shoot the ball and attack the rim since freshman year and it’s just starting to come out. Sometimes it takes longer for certain players to actually get it. I’m starting to get it now and the results are starting to come.”

On being in the running for BIG EAST Player of the Year:

“I’m working to help my team out right now. Player of the year … I don’t know anything about that. I’m only trying to help the team win and get us to the NCAA Tournament.”

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