After upsetting No. 12 Creighton 70-65 Sunday at Madison Square
Garden for their third straight conference win and sixth in their
last seven, St. John's is now one of the hottest teams in the Big
St. John's (15-9, 5-6 Big East) was led by junior guard D'Angelo
Harrison's 19 points. Sophomore center Chris Obekpa, known more for
his shot-blocking ability than his scoring prowess, tossed in 11
points to tie a career high.
Creighton (19-4, 9-2) received 25 points from senior forward Doug
McDermott. He was seeking to become the first Bluejay to score 30 or
more points in three straight games since Benoit Benjamin
accomplished the feat in 1985, but was held without a shot in the
final 8:41 of the game.
"They did a great job of taking me away," said Doug McDermott. "I
thought they did a great job of switching whenever I came off
screens. They were really disciplined a lot more down the stretch
there so you got to give them credit.
"I've got to be a little more aggressive, too. I think I went away
from what I was doing to start the game and I've got to recognize
that. We're successful when I'm moving without the ball."
Much of the defending on McDermott fell to Red Storm sophomore
forward Jakarr Sampson.
"It was tough," said Sampson of the assignment. "My mindset this
whole game was to focus on defense. I feel like we did a good job
holding him to his average."
St. John's is now 1-4 against ranked teams this season. It lost to
Wisconsin, Syracuse and Villanova, as well as to Creighton on Jan.
28. Creighton had a chance to grab sole possession of first place in
the conference, but fell behind Villanova (9-1).
Harrison's 3-pointer gave St. John's a 65-63 edge with 2:10
remaining in the game and ended a span of 3:20 in which the Red
Storm didn't score from the floor. Guard Jahenns Manigat's 3-point
attempt for Creighton fell short with 19 seconds left.
Harrison made five free throws in the final 19 seconds to offset a
drive by Creighton guard Devin Brooks.
"To see the hard work pay dividends is very rewarding for our
staff," said St. John's coach Steve Lavin. "We're not satisfied,
we're definitely not going to be complacent, we haven't accomplished
anything of significance."
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McDermott scored seven straight points to lift Creighton to a 59-57
lead with 8:41 to play. Harrison's two free throws tied it at 59-59
at the 7:30 mark for St. John's, and guard Phil Greene IV's jumper
at 5:39 made it 61-59 for St. John's. That basket ended a
four-minute scoring drought from the floor for the Red Storm.
St. John's willingness to share the ball resulted in 10 assists on
16 baskets and a 40-36 first-half lead. It marked the fourth time
this season Creighton trailed at the half. Obekpa, Greene IV, guard
Sir'Dominic Pointer and Harrison scored seven points each in the
half for the Red Storm.
McDermott led the Blue Jays with 14 points.
The Red Storm took their first lead of the half, 29-26, on a
3-pointer by Greene from the right corner with 7:35 to play in the
half. After that bucket, St. John's outscored Creighton 14-7 to end
The Blue Jays were playing their second game in three days after
defeating DePaul 78-66 on Thursday. They showed no signs of fatigue
in the first four minutes on Sunday, hitting six of their first
seven shots. McDermott connected on his first four shots to help the
Blue Jays move out to a 14-7 lead.
"Things were almost too easy for us early, if that's possible," said
Creighton coach Greg McDermott. "We scored on eight of our first
nine possessions and because of the offense I didn't feel like we
were as engaged defensively as we needed to be on the road against a
good St. John's team."
Creighton entered the game as the country's leading 3-point shooting
team. However, the Red Storm's perimeter defense held it to just
5-of-22 from long range.
"Their length certainly impacts your ability to shoot the basketball
and get clean looks at the basket," Greg McDermott said.
NOTES: The win was the 200th in St. John's coach Steve Lavin's
career. ... Creighton leads the Big East Conference in scoring (79.1
points per game), scoring margin (12.7), field goal percentage
(.492) and 3-point field goal percentage (.411). ... St. John's
leads the nation in blocked shots with 191. ... Entering Sunday, St.
John's G D'Angelo Harrison was third in the Big East in scoring with
an 18.3 average. ... Creighton G Jahenns Manigat has led the Blue
Jays in charges in each of the past three seasons. ... The last time
Creighton played at Madison Square Garden was in 1964, when it
defeated NYU 88-86.
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