After holding a 35-24 lead at halftime, St. John's let that lead evaporate in the second half. Emile Blackman and Niagara clawed back to cut it to a 46-45 contest with 11 minutes to play. With the way the Purple Eagles were shooting, it looked like the Red Storm would have to take this game down to the wire.
But it was at this point where St. John's seemed to say "Oh, yeah... we were just kidding."
The Johnnies stormed to a 19-5 run, stifling any Niagara attack, while using quick transition plays and excellent ball movement on offense to finally send Niagara home with a 70-57 Red Storm victory.
D'Angelo Harrison finished one rebound shy from a double-double. He put up 16 points in addition to his nine rebounds. Two of those points pushed him over the 1,700 point mark for his career. The senior from Missouri City, Texas now has 1,706, and is third in active college players in scoring. He's also now 9th all time on St. John's career scoring list.
Three St. John's players (Chris Obekpa, Myles Stewart and Sir'Dominic Pointer) had three blocks on the evening, contributing to a team total of 11. The only thing the Red Storm needed was some dip and a moon bounce, and it would have been one heck of a block party.
Niagara (1-4, 1-0), picked last to finish in the MAAC, put on a spirited effort thanks to sophomore guard Emile Blackman's 21 point contribution. He was 9-21 from the floor, but he gave Red Storm defenders a difficult task to defend in the second half. Ramone Snowden had a monster game on the glass for the Purple Eagles, grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. Each team finished with 41 rebounds, but Niagara dominated the offensive boards, taking a 14-4 advantage in this department.
Jamal Branch was the only other Red Storm player to hit double-digit points. He scored 12 while dishing out six assists.
Up next for St. John's is a date with Syracuse on Saturday, December 6. Tip off is slated for 5:15 p.m. at the Carrier Dome as the Orange and Red Storm renew their former Big East rivalry. This will be a big game that will answer important questions, such as "Is Orange really better than Red?," and "Can a storm really happen inside a dome?"
More info on how to watch will be up this week.
- Point guard "Catcher in the" Rysheed Jordan did not start for coach Steve Lavin's squad tonight for unspecified reasons.
- This was the 99th meeting all time between St. John's and Niagara. St. John's leads the all-time series 72-21.