St. John’s Dominates USF in Lavin’s Return to Sidelines


Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The St. John’s Red Storm (16-10, 8-6) returned to Queens Wednesday night for their final game of the season at Carnesecca Arena as they hosted the USF Bulls (10-16, 1-13.)

Also returning home was head coach Steve Lavin, who had missed the previous two games following the passing of his father. The team had been coached by assistant Rico Hines during the absence.

The game was delayed early on as Sir’Dom Pointer forgot his jersey in the locker room. The mishap didn’t seem to effect Pointer and the Storm, as they got off to an 8-0 start in the games first 3 minutes.

USF would finally get their first bucket of the game off of a Toarlyn Fitzpatrick layup. St. John’s would continue to pile on however, with Pointer and D’Angelo Harrison dominating the play. After 8 minutes it was a 16-6 Storm advantage.

St. John’s went scoreless for about a 4 minute period. Chris Obekpa would get them back on the board with a sensational pass to Amir Garret down low, who put it in to make it 18-7 for the Storm.

The passing prowess continued as the half went on, with 9 of their first 10 buckets being assisted. A Phil Greene dish to Obekpa would put the Storm up 24-12 with 6 to go in the first.

Obekpa would later prevent the Bulls from ending another 8-0 run, smacking a USF floater down for block 106, leading the NCAA. This would help build the St. John’s streak to 11-0, giving them a 29-12 lead in the last 3 minutes.

USF would get a few points back in the last couple of minutes but it was not nearly enough to make a substantial dent. At the half St. John’s led 33-17 with Harrison scoring a game high 9 points.

Not much changed coming out of halftime for the Bulls as they continued to let St. John’s dominate. Marc-Antoine Bourgault would drain a three pointer a few minutes into the half to help extend the Red Storm lead to 39-19.

Victor Rudd would do his best to get USF back in the game, nailing two straight shots from downtown to make it 41-25. Bourgault however would match it with a three of his own, giving the Storm a 44-25 lead with 13 to play.

While the Bourgault three seemed like a dagger, the Bulls continued to battle back. A 7-0 run got the score to 44-32 with 10 minutes left in the game.

The game of runs continued, with St. John’s going on a 7-0 run of their own that would be broken up by a 9-0 USF run. The Bulls were finally back within ten and with 4 minutes to go they trailed 51-41.

Despite battling back, the St. John’s lead proofed to be insurmountable and the Bulls would end up falling by a final score of 69-54.

Sir’Dom Pointer would record a double double, scoring 12 points while pulling down 10 rebounds. JaKarr Sampson would drop a game high 20 points for the Storm.

St. John’s will look to build a winning streak as they host the #20 Pittsburgh Panthers February 24 at Madison Square Garden.