NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — D’Angelo Harrison had his plans for a rare Saturday off all set.
“All the guys who shoot 3s will be in the gym tomorrow,” the junior guard said after scoring 25 points in St. John’s 73-57 victory over Wagner on Friday night. “We have to figure it out. We have to.”
What has to be figured out is the Red Storm’s 3-point shooting. They missed all 10 of their 3-point attempts against Wagner (1-2) and that followed a 2-for-13 effort in a season-opening loss to No. 20 Wisconsin.
Sophomore forward JaKarr Sampson, who had 13 points in the Red Storm’s 10th straight home-opening win, was stunned when told his team didn’t have a single 3-pointer.
“We shot 10?” he said when asked what could be done about the shooting woes. “I have no idea.”
Red Storm (1-1) coach Steve Lavin didn’t seem too disturbed by the 0-for from long range.
“Obviously we want to make 3s,” he said. “I wish we took less tonight. Four or five were ill-advised. I think we’re a better team when we’re fueling our offense off our defense and we play through our bigs. I don’t mind the 3s, but we can be very productive without shooting 3s.”
Wagner, which struggled just as much from behind the arc until hitting four in the final 13 minutes when the Seahawks cut an 18-point deficit to six, was trying to get St. John’s to shoot the long jumpers.
“Defensively we wanted them to shoot 3s,” Wagner coach Bashir Mason said. “It’s early in the season, but they shot 15 percent from there against Wisconsin and we wanted them to be a 3-point shooting team.”
Harrison, who led the team in scoring last season at 17.8 points per game, had 27 points against Wisconsin.
He missed four 3-point attempts, but he started the game by making six of his first eight shots from the field as the Red Storm led by as many as 18 points before holding a 36-22 halftime lead. He had four assists and five rebounds and was 11 for 11 from the free throw line.
“D’Angelo is hard to guard. He finds ways to score,” Mason said. “It seems every big basket they need he gets it.”
Sir’Dominic Pointer had 10 points for the Red Storm but he came up big when the Seahawks straightened out their shooting woes and got as close as six points with 3:44 to play.
Six of Pointer’s points came after Wagner had closed within eight points for the first time. He dunked to make it 56-46; he scored on a long layup to make it 58-48; and his vicious rebound dunk with 2:47 left made it 64-54 and the Seahawks could get no closer.
“We just missed some assignments,” Harrison said in explaining Wagner’s second-half rally. “We got to work on that. They played a hell of a game, but in conference play we can’t let that happen. Coach put the older group on the floor and we made it happen.”
Latif Rivers led Wagner with 25 points and fellow guards Jay Harris and Kenneth Ortiz had 14 and 10, respectively.
St. John’s used solid man-to-man defense to force the Seahawks into some tough shots in the first half and the Red Storm shut down any idea of an inside game for Wagner. Seahawks forward Mario Moody finished 2 of 13 from the field with most of his misses coming within feet of the rim.
But Wagner turned the tables on the Red Storm in the second half, shooting 45.2 percent (14 of 31) while holding the Red Storm to 34.8 percent (8 of 23). St. John’s missed 10 of its first 13 shots from the field in the second half, giving the Seahawks chances to cut into the 14-point halftime lead and they did, finally hitting some outside shots.
The Seahawks were 7 of 23 on 3s but they started out by missing 11 of their first 13 3-point attempts.
Sampson had 13 points and seven rebounds for St. John’s, which finished with a 45-34 rebound advantage.
The Red Storm were 29 of 36 from the free throw line while the Seahawks were 6 of 9.
“That’s it in a nut shell,” Mason said. “I’m not complaining. We did foul, but I think we got fouled at the other end as well.”
St. John’s highly regarded freshman guard Rysheed Jordan didn’t score in 17 minutes, missing all seven shots he took and handing out two assists.
“He’s a work in progress and this is a step in the right direction,” Lavin said of the Philadelphia native whom the school won’t allow to speak to the media until Christmas. “At this level I never had a freshman that didn’t have some degree of a learning curve. He’s doing a lot of things that impress me, but I’m not a numbers guy. I do like overall what Rysheed brings to the table.”
Harrison didn’t seem worried either.
“Watch. He’ll get it next game,” Harrison said. “He might have triple-double. He’s that good. He’ll figure it out. He’s a great player.”
St. John’s is 16-2 all-time against Wagner with the Seahawks’ last win coming in February 1956.
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