St. John’s Holds Off UCLA, Beats Bruins, 66-63

This story could start with any number of ledes.

There’s the Steve Lavin storyline, and the fact that he coached the Bruins for seven seasons before becoming a broadcaster in 2003.

You could also go with the fact that UCLA has underachieved, having been chosen to win the Pac 12, but look on their way to a berth in the NIT.

But on Saturday night, the strongest stoyline seemed to be that St. John’s simply came out and won. Against a UCLA team that will now most likely need to win the Pac 12 tournament to make the NCAAs, St. John’s held their ground in the second half and got the win, 66-63.

Let’s take a look at some of the Red Storm’s ups and downs in their win on Saturday afternoon.

Lasting Impressions

D’Angelo Harrison Was On

D’Angelo Harrison led the way for the Red Storm with 22 points on 7-of-19 shooting. But it wasn’t just his ability to hit from long distance that made the difference. He was attacking the rim, which helped to free up space down low and create shots for others. With Moe Harkless having an off-shooting game, Harrison’s presence was important.

More Fluid Offensively

Starting with Harrison, St. John’s was able to dribble penetrate and attack UCLA’s defense better than they have in a few of games. There were no long, painful stretches of broken offense, which helped them to keep the lead through the entirety of the game.

Sir’Dom, Sir’Dom

Pointer had one of his best all-around games of the season, finishing with 13 points and seven rebounds, and was the defensive presence that he has been all season. As with Harrison, who stepped up, Pointer did as well.

Still Problems Defending on the Block

When UCLA big man Josh Smith got the ball on the block, he was nearly unstoppable. He finished with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting. It makes sense, as the Red Storm have had trouble with size all season, but credit St. John’s for adjusting and denying Smith the ball down the stretch.

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