The St. John's Red Storm dominated early and withstood a UConn second-half run to win 71-65 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. This is their sixth win in seven games. St. John's is now 7-4 in Big East play and 15-8 overall.
St. John's led by as much as 15 in the first half, and led 31-20 at halftime. JaKarr Sampson had 10 points, and Marco Bourgault hit three 3-pointers to contribute nine points in the first half.
|UConn's legendary Head Coach Jim Calhoun (first row, left) was in attendance, as first-year Head coach Kevin Ollie looks on. Photo by @JESchott19.|
St. John's came out strong in the second half, and led by 15, at 39-24, on a Sampson layup four minutes in.
Over the next six minutes, UConn went on a 20-5 run, led by Shabazz Napier who drained three 3-pointers. The Huskies tied the game at 44 on a Niels Giffey three-point play with 9:37 left.
St. John's was quick to respond, as forward Chris Obekpa hit two free throws and then a jumper to give them a 48-44 lead.
UConn had one more run in them, and a Ryan Boatright three-pointer tied the game at 51 with 4:57 remaining.
St. John's needed D'Angelo Harrison to step up, and he hit a three-pointer with 2:55 left to make it 58-53 St. John's. He then hit a jumper and had two free throws in the final minute to open up a 68-62 lead and ice the game.
St. John's was led by Sampson, who had 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting, with 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Harrison and Bourgault had 11 each. Phil Greene IV had 10 points and 6 assists. Chris Obekpa was limited to 13 minutes due to foul trouble, and had 6 points with 4 rebounds and 2 blocks.
UConn was led by Omar Calhoun, a native of Brooklyn who played at Christ the King. Calhoun had 21 points on 8-for-21 shooting with 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Shabazz Napier had 14 points, all in the second half, with 5 assists. DeAndre Daniels had 12 points, and Niels Giffey had 9 points and 10 rebounds.
WATCH St. John's Head Coach Steve Lavin Postgame Video: