St. John’s senior guard D’Angelo Harrison scored a game-high 20 points against Xavier on Monday, and the Red Storm needed every one of them. Up 28-20 at halftime, St. John’s hung on for the 58-57 victory.
“It was a big win for us,” Harrison said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Big win for us.”
The win put St. John’s (19-9, 8-7) in the top half of the Big East along with Georgetown and three ranked teams: No. 6 Villanova, No. 23 Butler and No. 25 Providence.
“We needed this win,” Harrison said. “This one was big for us because us and Xavier were tied, and this win puts us ahead of them. We just got to keep moving forward and keep the momentum going.”
Harrison shot 7-of-14 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from three-point range, to go along with one rebound, one assist and one steal.
“Coach preaches stay aggressive,” Harrison said of Steve Lavin. “I just let them go when I’m wide open, and he believes I’m going to make more than I miss. So that’s what happened tonight.”
Harrison, despite finishing with the game-high in points, might not have been the best player on the court – or even his own team. No, that honor likely went to St. John’s guard Sir’Dominic Pointer. The 6-6 senior finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, three assists, four steals and six blocks – and he played all 40 minutes.
“He’s been a freak all year,” Harrison said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we keep winning here if he wins player of the year. Dom’s the type to almost get quadruple-doubles. That’s what makes him a special payer. We expect that from him. We don’t expect nothing less.”
As a team, St. John’s had 13 steals, 10 blocks and eight turnovers; Xavier had two steals, one block and 20 turnovers. That was the difference in the game.
“Our coach preaches defense,” Harrison said. “Defense wins games for us. We’re best when we’re in transition. So if we get stops and run-outs, then we’re a hard team to beat.”
Harrison played a large chunk of the second half with four fouls.
“You have to pick and choose when you get fouls,” he said. “I had four with like 10 minutes left, so I was like, ‘Coach, keep me in the game.’ He left me in here. He trusts me because I’ve been here four years. We grinded it out and got a W. Big win for us.”
Harrison plays his final official home game at Madison Square Garden this Saturday against Georgetown (18-8, 10-5) at 12 p.m. ET. St. John’s then closes the regular season with road games at Marquette (11-15, 3-11) and Villanova (25-2, 12-2) before returning to the Garden for the Big East Tournament.
“That was part of me coming here,” Harrison said of playing in MSG. “It’s amazing to play here (and) call it the home court. Hopefully after I graduate from here, I continue to play here on a different team.”