St. John’s Seniors Celebrate Final Home Game with a Win

New York, NY—An enthusiastic crowd of 13,615 attended the final home game of the regular season of the St. John’s Red Storm (20-9, 9-7) at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon. The U. S. college tradition is for the seniors to be honored at the final home event of each sport. The five senior Red Storm hoopsters, Sir’Dominic Pointer, D’Angelo Harrison, Jamal Branch, Phil Greene IV and Khadim Ndiaye, along with members of their families, were saluted on the court before the game began. After the game, Pointer and Greene explained to reporters how thrilling it was to play victoriously at MSG for the final time and in front of their family members.

In the second half, St. John’s honored its seniors on the cheer squad, dance team, pep band and team managers. The students and family members were invited to come on the court to receive the cheers of the crowd.

The Red Storm’s opponent on Saturday, the Georgetown Hoyas (18-9, 10-6), is no stranger to St. John’s. Saturday’s game was the 103rd meeting between the two teams. They last played 11 days earlier in Washington, DC. The Hoyas dominated the contest and won, 79-57. The rematch was very different. Red Storm coach Steve Lavin phrased it thusly, “We slugged them from start to finish.”

Georgetown final advantage of the contest, 6-5, began at 2 minutes and 18 seconds into the action. It ended nine seconds later with 11 unanswered points by St. John’s culminated in a double figure lead, 16-6, at 14:37. In the first half, the Red Storm lead never fell to less than seven points and rose to a high of 15 points, 34-19, at 6:49. The Hoyas trailed by 11, 43-32, when the first half concluded.

In a very rare occurrence, Harrison, the team’s leading scorer who is third in St. John’s scoring history with 2,117 points, was held scoreless in the half. He drew two quick fouls and was on the floor for less than 30 seconds in the half. The depth of the team was proved by three other starters who scored in double digits in the half, Pointer-13, Greene-11 and Rysheed Jordan-10. Lavin commented, “Our team showed balance today.”Greene explained, “Everyone on our team is a threat. With everyone attacking, we’ll be okay.”

The game ended with St. John’s wining by 11, 81-70. The Red Storm advantage fell to single digits only once in the second stanza, 45-36 at 17:21. St. John’s gained the victory because of its balanced scoring, ability to control the basketball and self-control in committing.

Harrison only netted one throw despite playing all 20 minutes in the second half, but the other four starters scored in double figures, Greene-a career high of 26, Pointer-24, Jordan-15 and Branch-10. Branch left after eight minutes in the second half after suffering a right hip flexor.

St. John’s only turned the ball over seven times, tied for its low of the year.

The point differential in the game came at the free throw line. St. John’s netted 21 of 32 after Georgetown’s 27 fouls. The Red Storm only committed 17 fouls which led the Hoyas to the charity stripe for 14 shots of which they sunk 10.

Despite the impressive win and victories in six of its last seven games, Lavin remarked, “I don’t think we’ve played our best basketball yet.”

As March began the day after the game, there were many questions regarding whether the coach and players believe St. John’s will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. Greene responded simply and correctly, “If we keep winning, they got to put us in.”

The Johnnies will play their final two regular season games on the road and then return to Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament that starts on March 11.


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