The St. John's Red Storm are off to their best start since the 2009-10 season after defeating Fairleigh Dickinson 74-52 on Wednesday night.
The Johnnies led from the 18:48 mark in the first half onwards, never relinquishing a lead to their adversaries from across the Hudson River. The sensational D'Angelo Harrison led the way with 26 points in 36 minutes of action, adding six rebounds, three assists and two blocks to his terrific line. Four members of the Red Storm joined the Anchorage, Alaska native in double figures, as Chris Obekpa (10), Sir'Dominic Pointer (12) and Phil Greene IV (16) each netted double digit numbers inside the confines of Carnesecca Arena.
Now that we've grabbed your attention, here's the skinny on what we learned from this contest:
1. St. John's defense continues to shine
Okay, so yeah, it MIGHT just be Fairleigh Dickinson, sure. The Knights might be 3-5 and they aren't an especially potent team on offense. But the Red Storm have allowed less than 60 points in their last three games in a row, and this marks the fifth time this season that they've held their opponents to under 60. They're now 10th in the nation in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, omitting 88.9 points for every 100 possessions.
The teams in front of them?
- San Diego State
- Ohio State
2. D'Angelo Harrison continues to establish himself as a legitimate Big East Player of the Year candidate
The hype looks to be real this year for Harrison. His efficiency numbers are hovering around the same as they've been over the course of his longstanding career in Queens, New York, but with his points per game average standing at 22.1, with back to back 20-point performances to boot -- including that stellar outing against the Syracuse Orange in upstate New York -- Harrison's certainly asserting himself. One area he seems to be correcting is in the 2-point shooting department. At the moment, he's converting on 46.2 percent of his tries, which is way up from his dismal 38.9 percent mark on 270 attempts in the 2013-14 season. If his efficiency continues to ascend inside the 3-point line and at the rack, Harrison can perhaps improve on his candidacy even more.
3. The Red Storm's 3-point shooting remains a heavy work-in-progress
It hasn't been a great decade for 3-point shooting for St. John's. Since the 2001-02 season, they've never finished higher than 145th in the country in that category. And that was last year. This season, it's been a skittish start from deep, as they're currently converting on 31.3 percent of their 3-point tries. Against Fairleigh Dickinson, St. John's shot 5-for-15 against the Knights. This area hasn't cost them quite yet -- they are 7-1 after all -- but if the trends continue, this could wind up haunting them down the road if things don't get better.