Slow starts are becoming the norm for the St. John’s men’s basketball team, though this time they failed to recover as they lost to San Francisco 81-65 at War Memorial Gym last night in head coach Steve Lavin’s homecoming.
The Red Storm (6-3) fell behind early once again thanks, in part, to an opposing team shooting 50 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from three-point range.
Coming out of halftime, the Johnnies endured the same struggles from earlier as the Dons (5-1) made their first six of seven field goals en route to a 15-point lead with 15:00 remaining in the contest.
From that point, a resurgence began as St. John’s went on a 14-4 run to pull within five at 49-54 with 12:14 remaining. The rest of the evening wasn’t as kind to the visitors, however, as the Dons once again pulled away to seal the 16-point victory.
Freshman JaKarr Sampson finished with a career-high 22 points, while sophomore D’Angelo Harrison added 14. Only two of Harrison’s points came in the second half of play.
San Francisco’s De’End Parker scored 21 points and Cody Doolin followed with 18. Cole Dickerson, who came
into the night leading the nation with 15.0 rebounds per game, grabbed 8 boards.
The Red Storm shot 40 percent from the field and a dismal 27 percent from three. On the foul line, the team shot 80 percent, which was a marked improvement from the 38 percent success rate from last Saturday against NJIT at home.
There were some tense moments during the game including an early technical against Lavin and multiple official reviews on foul calls against both teams. In the end, Lavin’s technical remained the only one called.
The west coast trip wasn’t all negative for the Red Storm, as Lavin returned to his hometown and was present while his father, Cap Lavin, was honored in a ceremony on the court. The senior Lavin played basketball at San Francisco, was a team captain and became a Hall of Fame Honoree in 1997.
The Red Storm will return back to the east coast in time for this weekend’s Madison Square Garden debut in the Holiday Festival against Fordham as they continue their out-of-conference schedule.