Harrison's 4-Point Play Lifts St. John's to Résumé-Building Win Over Minnesota | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / July 12.
  • Harrison’s 4-Point Play Lifts St. John’s to Résumé-Building Win Over Minnesota

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    D'AngeloBy JOSH NEWMAN

    NEW YORK – D’Angelo Harrison has boldly stated that this season is a “complete failure” if St. John’s doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament, and that Wednesday’s NIT semifinal against Minnesota is one of the biggest games of his career. 

    St. John’s did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament on Wednesday, but if it is to do so for the first time in the careers of Harrison and the rest of this senior class, Wednesday was a step in the right direction.

    Harrison’s 4-point play from the right corner with 2:22 to play in the game highlighted an 12-0 run late in the second half as St. John’s picked up a quality non-conference win, 70-61 over head coach Richard Pitino and reigning postseason NIT champion Minnesota.

    St. John’s will have a chance at another huge résumé-building win when it plays No. 10 Gonzaga (5-0) on Friday back at the Garden. The Zags beat Georgia, 88-76, behind a career-best 32 points from Kyle Wiltjer.

    “We said it all week that this was one of the biggest games of our careers,” said Harrison, who is one of four seniors playing regular minutes. “We showed it in the second half. When we put two halves together like we did in the second half, we’re gonna be a hard matchup for everybody.”

    “I thought we had a good team this year, but it’s time for us to grow up and come together.”

    Harrison shot just 5-for-19 to get to reach his game-high 19 points, but that 4-point play is all anyone is going to remember. That helped extend the Red Storm to a 66-59 lead with 2:22 to play. He added nine rebounds and six steals.

    “He’s so lethal just because he can make shots from anywhere,” Pitino said.

    Undersized senior Sir’Dominic Pointer, finished with eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds from his power forward spot, while highly-touted sophomore point guard Rysheed Jordan had 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

    This is the last chance for this senior class of Harrison, Pointer, Jamal Branch and Phil Greene IV to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Judging by Harrison’s earlier comments, that fact is not lost on the frenetic Houston native.

    Clearly the Red Storm’s best player, Harrison has experienced a star-crossed career in Queens.

    A Preseason All-Big East team selection as a sophomore in 2012-13, Harrison was suspended for the final three regular-season games, Big East Tournament and NIT for what a source told SNY.tv at the time was ‘a pattern of behavior.’

    St. John’s finished 16-15 and lost to Virginia in the second round of the NIT. Harrison was reinstated to the team last season, which saw the Red Storm underachieve in finishing 20-13 while flaming out in the first round of the NIT at home as a No. 1 seed. Harrison, though, was outstanding, averaging 17.5 and 4.9 rebounds on his way to winning the Haggerty Award.

    The individual stuff is all well and good, but Harrison and these seniors have never won a title. Friday night and the NIT is not the end-goal, but it would certainly be a start.

    “We have to remain focused on the task at hand, which is to get a win here Friday,” said St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin, who led the Johnnies to an NCAA Tournament in 2011, but none since. “It would be the first championship for this group in terms of getting some hardware, cutting down some nets and bringing a championship back to campus.”

    “This group is deserving of doing some special things this year and Friday is another big game. Regardless of the outcome, we have to stay on the path of progress and get ready for the next one.”

    Beyond Friday, St. John’s will have opportunities for key resume wins when it travels to Syracuse on Dec. 6 and hosts Duke on Jan. 25.

    Photo: St. John’s Athletics

    Follow Josh Newman on Twitter

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