With a brand new ranking to their name, St. John’s returned to home to knock off Fairleigh Dickinson, 74-52, at Carnesecca Arena Wednesday night. D’Angelo Harrison was the spark for the Johnnies as he put up 26 points in a night where everything was dropping through the hoop.
Phil Greene finished with 16 points while Chris Obekpa added a double double, 10 points and 12 boards. Sir’Dominic Pointer had 12 points and Rysheed Jordan came off the bench to score 8 points and only turned the ball over twice.
The hot shooting carried over from the battle against Syracuse as St. John’s shot 59 percent in the first half and shot 57 percent overall for the game. They created wide-open jumpers due to penetration, great passing and good decision-making.
This was the first game for the Johnnies since they moved into the AP Poll for the first time since 2011. They are ranked 24th overall but they are not satisfied and are looking to continue their early season success.
“I’m pleased that there isn’t any compliancy or sense that we have accomplished anything significant yet as a group,” Steve Lavin said. “We clearly have work to do. “
This was one of those games that in the past the Johnnies would have come out of the gate sluggish but instead the experience of the roster continues to be a major factor.
“We want to stay up there in the rankings,” D’Angelo Harrison said. “Because that’s where we feel we belong. We wanted to keep the momentum going.”
Despite being up by double-digits for most of the game, Fairleigh Dickinson went on a run mid-second half and they were able to cut the lead to 10 points with 7:57 left. The Johnnies were struggling to find consistent scoring from anyone other than Harrison in the second half but ultimately the ability to attack the rim and get to the free throw line helped counter the threat of a comeback.
Phil Greene scored 12 points in the first half but didn’t take many shots in the second half, scoring only four points.
The major advantage for St. John’s was their dominant effort in the paint. They out-rebounded the Knights by 11, blocked 11 shots and out-scored them in the paint by 10 points. Obekpa had six of those blocks and his length bothered the Knights’ ability to make plays.
St. John’s was also able to shut down Fairleigh Dickinson’s second leading scorer, Matt McDonald. He went 1-for-4 from the field with only 5 points.
“We’re not satisfied,” D’Angelo Harrison said. “We’re going to celebrate for 24 hours and then get back in the gym and get ready for our next opponent.”
Next up for St. John’s is an inter-city matchup against Fordham on Sunday at 2 pm at Madison Square Garden.