The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Pointer leads St. John’s to uneasy win over LIU-Brooklyn

St. John’s had to shake off LIU Brooklyn in the last 10 minutes to win 66-53 in the second game of the NIT Season Tip-off Wednesday. They had issues with ball-handling and rebounding, but again showed off their depth.

“There were a couple of bright spots tonight, but at this stage of the year we know no coach is ever pleased with a team’s rate of progress,” said St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin. “There are still several areas we need to improve on.”

LIU Brooklyn cut the St. John’s lead to three with 10:32 left, but Sir’Dominic Pointer and Rysheed Jordan lifted the Red Storm to a 20-10 run to finish the win.

Pointer led the game with a career high 18 points and collected eight rebounds and six blocks. One of his many dunks made it on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays on Thursday morning. Sophomore Rysheed Jordan continued his stellar start by scoring 13 of his 15 points in the second half.

“This summer I worked harder and it is starting to show up now,” said Pointer. “I felt like I was hurting the team by not scoring [last year]. At the end of the day, D’Angelo [Harrison] was getting double-teamed, so now you have to cover me and that opens up everybody else.”

Lavin spoke of Pointer’s uniqueness as a player and as a personality, comparing him to a unicorn due to his rareness. “In a coaching career there are certain players who are going leave a lasting impression because of their personality, their style of play or a combination of both,” he said. “Dom is one of those unique talents that can be a catalyst to us having a successful season. He will be central to what we do on both sides of the ball.

“Dom has always been an x-factor on the team,” said D’Angelo Harrison, who had 14 points and seven rebounds of his own. “When he plays like this, it’s great. Sometimes he almost has quadruple-double, that is just the kind of player he is. That is what Dom is capable of every game.”

The Red Storm again shut down the opposing shooting by holding LIU Brooklyn to 29.6 percent from the field, but the Blackbirds stayed in the game by forcing 10 turnovers and collecting 21 offensive rebounds. This was a total contrast to the +14.5 average margin in rebounds in the first two games.

Lavin believes that the struggles against LIU Brooklyn was due to the fact that St. John’s normally plays a smaller lineup.

“Gene Keady, my former boss and life-long mentor, believed that if you have the right set of players, rebounding is the least important statistic in basketball,” said Lavin. “We are not likely to be a dominating rebounding team because we are playing with a diminutive, highly skilled, quick pressing unit.”

Pointer is third on the team in rebounding behind Harrison and Chris Obekpa, and he spoke of his role with the smaller lineup: “I have to rebound more. I’m the second biggest guy on the floor now. I have to get 10 rebounds a night for us to win. We have to work on boxing out.”

After playing their first three games of the season in just six nights, St. John’s gets a week off to prepare for the semi-final of the NIT Season Tip-off against Richard Pitino’s Minnesota Golden Gophers at Madison Square Garden.

“Tomorrow we will watch film on this game then we have to get ready for Minnesota,” said Harrison. “We watched them play against Louisville. We are going to watch a lot of film on them and get to know their personnel.”

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Brandon Mauk, Digital Sports Manager
Digital Sports Manager:  Brandon is a senior going for a major in  journalism major and a minor in history. His goal is to expand The Torch's online presence for publication's sports coverage, increase the section's social media presence, and work on online stories every week even for week's with no printed issue. [email protected] @TorchSports

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