Ingram Shoots SJU Past Miami

Elijah Ingram was coming off the worst game of his young college career.

The freshman missed all four of shots against Connecticut, and much of the same was happening in the first half against Miami.

When the freshman looked up at the halftime scoreboard, a zero was in his points column, and his scoreless streak had reach an hour’s worth of game time.

His confidence may have been shaken, but all that changed in the second half, when the point guard started shooting and scored a career-high 21 points to help St. John’s (11-6, 4-3) pull out a 77-74 victory over Miami (9-9, 2-5) on Feb. 2 at Madison Square Garden.

Ingram helped lead the charge by hitting five straight three pointers in a six-minute span and then sealed the victory by making four straight free throws.

“I was in a rhythm,” Ingram said. “Any chance I was open I was going to shoot it.”

St. John’s tried to build on a 38-33 halftime lead, but Miami started the half on a 15-6 run to take their first lead at 13:58 of the second stanza.

Three minutes later, Marcus Hatten fed his backcourt partner behind the three-point arc on consecutive possessions to give the Red Storm a 58-53 lead.

“The opportunity was there and I was open, so I just shot it,” Ingram said.

The Johnnies stretched the lead to as many as eight – behind another Ingram three-pointer – before Darius Rice hit two free throws, Michael Simmons hit a three-pointer and Rice rocked the rim with a dunk to give the Hurricanes a two-point advantage.

Ingram then hit the last of his two shots from long distance for a four-point advantage that the Johnnies would not relinquish.

“I’ve been encouraging Elijah to shoot whenever he’s open all year,” St. John’s Head Coach Mike Jarvis said. “Whenever he’s open I want him shooting the ball, unless time and score dictates otherwise.”

The Red Storm got a huge boost from Eric King and Grady Reynolds because Anthony Glover was in and out of the game due to foul trouble.

Glover scored a season-low three points, but King and Reynolds, starting his first game of the season, combined for 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Hatten had an all-around stellar afternoon, leading St. John’s with 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and six steals.

Rice led all scorers with 25 points, while James Jones chipped in with 18.

SJU may have won the game at the foul line, where they made 23-of-29 shots (79 percent) – their highest percentage of the season.

“The free throws certainly made a huge difference,” Jarvis said.

After playing at Boston College on Wednesday night, St. John’s will host Virginia Tech Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall. Tip-off is 4 p.m.