But with the game on the line, the swingman, recently referred to as Batman by his coach, put his team on his back. His layup fell, as did the ensuing free throw, and Red Storm superhero Pointer put the finishing touches on a grind-it-out, 65-59, victory over Columbia at the Barclays Center.
Pointer’s only bucket of the contest helped the Red Storm move to 9-3 headed into Big East play. The Red Storm has now won three-straight and five-of-six with only a hotly contested five-point loss to No. 2 Syracuse on December 15 interrupting that stretch.
“Our maturity was on display at the end of the game,” said head coach Steve Lavin. “This is the type of game we would have lost the past two years. Down the stretch our team showed poise and purpose in going on a run of our own to salt the victory away.”
Pointer finished the contest with four points, five rebounds, three blocks, two steals and an assist in 25 minutes, evoking thoughts of another Lavin nickname for the junior – “Costco” – extolling Pointer’s ability to supply anything the team needs.
Classmate D’Angelo Harrison scored 15 points, senior Orlando Sanchez had 12 points and a career-high nine rebounds and sophomore JaKarr Sampson added 11 with five boards and three blocks.
Rookie Rysheed Jordan scored seven points despite being limited by foul trouble.
The Red Storm – which came into the game owning a field goal percentage defense ranked 41st in the nation – held the Lions to a stingy 38 percent from the floor.
Big East play begins for St. John’s at noon on New Year’s Eve in Cincinnati against new conference opponent Xavier.