St. John’s Stumbles 2nd Half Versus Pitt at Garden

The St. John’s Red Storm (16-11, 8-7) would look to pad their tournament resume as they hosted the #20 Pittsburgh Panthers (21-7, 9-6) at Madison Square Garden.

Jamal Branch returned to the lineup for the Storm after missing several games with an MCL sprain. His return also saw St. John’s wearing alternate gray jerseys for the first time in team history.

Steve Adams of Pitt got the Panthers off to a quick start, scoring 5 early points and giving his team an 8-2 lead. D’Angelo Harrison would do his best to keep things close, draining a three to make it 8-5 in the games first 3 minutes.

Tray Woodall would take things over for Pitt once Adams hit the bench with foul troubles. He scored 8 points in the first 6 minutes to give the Panthers a 13-8 lead over the Storm.

After a steal and a block for Chris Obekpa, Phil Greene was able to score 4 straight points for St. John’s. The mini run for Greene cut the  deficit to 17-14 with 9 to play in the first.

Greene continued his hot shooting as the half went on, draining a shot from downtown with 5 to go to keep the Storm down just three. JaKarr Sampson then cut it to 24-23 after an offensive board and a layup.

Both teams traded buckets as the half wound down, allowing Pitt to retain a 30-27 lead going into halftime. Phil Greene led the Storm with 9 points while Woodall had 10 for Pitt.

St. John’s would take their first lead of the game thanks to a pair of Sampson free throws a minute into the second. Woodall however would take the lead right back after draining another three pointer. After 3 minutes of second half action, Pitt led 35-33.

Obekpa slammed home a dunk for the Storm with 14 minutes of gameplay left to break up a 10-2 Panthers run. A few minutes later Obekpa pitched in offensively again, hitting two free throws to make it a 42-39 game in favor of Pitt.

Following the mini run for Obekpa, the Panthers began to pull away. Sampson did his best to get the crowd engaged again, with a one handed dunk in the last 8 minutes of the game. He was bested however by a J.J. Moore three pointer, to make it 50-41.

Another three pointer from the hands of Tray Woodall would proof to be a dagger into the hopes of a St. John’s victory. The Panthers would finish things off by a final of 63-47.

D’Angelo Harrison was just 1-12 from the field, while the entire team shot 2-14 on three pointers. Tray Woodall led the game with 25 points while Sampson led the Storm with 14.

“If we had converted some of the shots we usually make it would have been a different ballgame.” Harrison said after the game.

St. John’s will look to get back on track as they head up to Rhode Island to face the Providence Friars for a March 2 matchup.

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