St. John’s escaped an upset with a 64-54 win over Monmouth on Friday night. In the first game of the Barclays Center Classic, the Red Storm (2-1) failed to break away from the Hawks (1-3) and did not see a double-digit lead until the final minute of the game.
Prior to tip-off, the Red Storm announced that freshman guard Rysheed Jordan would be suspended for the night’s game because of a violation of team rules.
“If he takes care of his responsibilities he’ll be back on the team, if he doesn’t he won’t,” head coach Steve Lavin said. “It’s a basic responsibility that our team members must adhere to.”
The Johnnies, who usually do their damage from inside the paint, established themselves as outside threats by shooting 38.1 percent from the three point line. Junior guard D’Angelo Harrison, who finished the game with 15 points, shot three for six from range.
“There were some shots that we took that I wasn’t pleased with, but I thought our players shooting 38-percent from the 3-point line was the critical to our victory,” Lavin said. “It was a step in the right direction in terms attacking the 3-point line. It was one of the few bright spots tonight.”
St. John’s was lifted by junior guard Phil Greene IV, who led the team in scoring with 22 points, his most since Nov. 16, 2012 when he scored 24 against Murray State. Greene IV also grabbed a career-high eight rebounds.
Other than the three-point shooting and Greene’s performance, there was not much to be excited about. The Johnnies were outscored by the Hawks 32-16 in the paint and only scored six points coming off the bench.
“I think all of that was a result of our feet. We were a step slow the entire night,” Lavin said. “Even on offense I didn’t like our feet, we traveled some times. We ran some people over and showed some poor judgment in the first half on shot selection, we shot or dribbled in the crowd instead of passing or pitching the ball out of the crowd.”
Senior forward Orlando Sanchez and junior guard Sir’Dominic Pointer were a combined 2-9 for the night, scoring only five points altogether.
Sampson finished the game with 14 points and nine rebounds and sophomore forward Chris Obekpa rejected the ball nine times.
St. John’s will continue play in the Barclays Center Classic on Nov. 26, when it hosts Longwood at Carnesecca Arena.