St. Johns hangs on to beat Seton Hall 77-76
By JIM O’CONNELL
the associated press | January 24,2014
NEW YORK — Sir’Dominic Pointer had the crowd at Carnesecca Arena groaning with 4.3 seconds to play Thursday night. By the time the final buzzer sounded, the junior swingman had made those fans happy after seeing a tough losing streak come to an end.
JaKarr Sampson, Orlando Sanchez and D’Angelo Harrison all scored 16 points and St. John’s hung on for a 77-76 victory over Seton Hall, its first Big East Conference win of the season.
The Red Storm (11-8, 1-5) snapped their five-game losing streak Saturday against Dartmouth, but didn’t secure their first conference victory until Pointer knocked the ball away from Seton Hall’s Fuquan Edwin at midcourt just before the buzzer.
But first, there was that turnover on an inbounds play.
“I was throwing the ball long. We had no timeouts. Nobody was open so I lobbed it long and hoped somebody would grab it,” he said of the pass from under his own basket that went out of bounds at the other end of the court. “Luckily it got hit out of bounds. I had to take a chance with 5 seconds left.”
Sanchez touched the ball before it went out so the Pirates had to take it out under their own basket, 94 feet away, instead of under the Red Storm’s hoop.
That meant the Pirates would get a chance to win a second straight conference road game. Pointer didn’t let it happen.
“I just had to stop the ball,” he said. “I saw (Edwin) put it behind his back. When I seen that I went for the ball. Of course I was taking a chance, but I took it and it worked out. It can be like that sometimes.”
St. John’s coach Steve Lavin couldn’t help smiling when he talked about the last two plays.
“He’s as resourceful a basketball player as I’ve coached,” Lavin said of Pointer, who finished with 10 points, one turnover and one steal. “He does some things in terms of improvising and using ingenuity that’s a gift. But at times it’s frustrating and sometimes I’m not exactly sure what he has in mind, but more often than not he produces in a positive manner. I say he’s extraterrestrial.”
It looked as though St. John’s was going to coast to the win when it took a 65-48 lead with 8:59 to play. The Pirates answered with a 13-2 run to get close and it became a free throw shooting contest in the final minute.
Sterling Gibbs had 20 points for Seton Hall (11-8, 2-4) and Brian Oliver added 19, making five of the Pirates’ eight 3-pointers.
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard kept referring to his team’s 19 turnovers, 15 of which came in the first half.
“We’ve mostly done a good job with pressure. We’ve attacked and got easy shots,” he said. “This is the first time we got rattled on the road. That hadn’t happened to us, but we became a little passive with the basketball. That happens. This is a tough place to play. We were down 17 and came back with a chance to win. I’m proud of the effort.”