SJU men bounce back with two gritty wins
by Photos: Kenneth B. Goldberg
Feb 21, 2012 | 2066 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Moe Harkless hits jumper down stretch against DePaul.
Those tough Big East matchups have apparently helped season the St. John's five-man freshman lineup, as the "Fresh Five" made it two straight wins, defeating UCLA at Madison Square Garden on Saturday and downing DePaul in Queens on Monday.

Rookie guard D'Angelo Harrison scored 23 points – marking his 11th 20-plus point performance of the season – and freshman forward Amir Garrett added a season-high 18 with a career-high nine boards to lead St. John's to a 79-72 victory over DePaul on Monday night and a season sweep of the regular-season series.

The Red Storm (12-16, 5-10) has won two-straight after losing four in a row and now owns sole possession of 11th place in the 16-team conference. Harrison, now with 479 first-year points, is only 21 away from tying the St. John’s all-time freshman scoring record.

Fellow freshman Moe Harkless, with 438 points, is not far behind. The record currently belongs to Erick Barkley, who netted 500 even in his 1998-99 rookie campaign.

The St. John's coaching staff wore blue bow ties as part of On The Line “Statement Week,” an effort to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Head Coach Steve Lavin underwent prostate cancer surgery on October 6.

He coached four games in November before being told by doctors to follow a modified schedule that keeps him off the bench but allows him to attend practices and recruit.

This was the last game of the season at on-campus Carnesecca Arena, where the Red Storm went 7-1. The Red Storm next welcomes Notre Dame to The Garden on Saturday, February 25, for a noon tilt on ESPN. The matchup with the No. 20 Irish marks St. John’s final regular-season home game of the year.

On Saturday at the Garden, St. John’s came up with a big win by doing all the little things.

The Red Storm used a slew of hustle plays to beat UCLA 66-63 on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The biggest of those hustle plays came with 6.5 seconds to play when Phil Greene tipped in D’Angelo Harrison’s 3-point attempt as the shot clock ran out.

The offensive rebound was the first of the game for Greene, a 6-foot-2 guard, and the 19th for St. John's (11-16). It gave the Red Storm a 66-62 lead on their way to ending a four-game losing streak.

"I think we play scrappier than they do," said Harkless, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds, six offensive, marking his 10th-career double-double. "We got a lot of offensive rebounds and I think we just played harder than they did."

Harrison scored 22 points for St. John's, which finished with a 19-15 edge on the offensive glass that it turned into a 26-15 advantage in second-chance points and a 34-30 lead in points in the paint.

"Obviously the number that stands out is the offensive rebounds," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "We weren’t quick enough to the ball. They got the loose balls. They got the second shots."

Lavin coached UCLA for seven seasons and went to the NCAA tournament in all but his last year.

“Two storied programs with [Lou] Carnesecca in the house on a beautiful Saturday so it doesn’t get much better for New York college basketball fans," said Lavin. "I like the pluck that our players are showing. They have confidence and aggressiveness and that’s what most important because they’re young.”

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