QUEENS, N.Y -- A quick take on St. John's 66-61 victory over Texas-Pan American on Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena.
WHAT IT MEANS: St. John's wins its second game in a row, and moves back over the .500 mark (6-5) in its final game before Christmas. It wasn't pretty -- especially considering Texas Pan-American was ranked No. 296 in the RPI and just 1-9 against Division I competition this season. But any win is a good win for this young Red Storm team.
The game also marked the debut of freshman forward Amir Garrett, who was just declared eligible earlier in the day. Garrett had three points and two rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench.
THE SKINNY: St. John's started this game off strong, opening up a 19-9 lead with 11:34 remaining in the first half. But then the Red Storm went to sleep offensively, with just one more field goal the rest of the half, and none in the final 10:32. Texas-Pan American closed the half on a 10-0 run, taking a 32-24 lead into the locker room. St. John's struggled to create good shots in its half-court offense, and got nothing off the fast break.
Texas-Pan American extended its lead to as many as 12, 44-32, with 14:34 left in the game. But then D'Angelo Harrison went on a personal 10-0 run, including back-to-back treys, to cut the deficit to two points with 11:19 left. It was a battle from there. The Red Storm regained the lead by two points on two different occasions, but then the Broncs surged back in front. Down 61-59, Harrison buried a deep 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining, and on the ensuing possession Moe Harkless got a steal near half-court and headed in for an uncontested dunk. Texas-Pan American missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.
BIG EFFORTS: God'sgift Achiuwa had a huge game for St. John's, with 22 points and nine rebounds, shooting 10-for-14 from the field. That included several jump shots, with Achiuwa showing increased offensive aggressiveness and surprising touch from long range. And Harrison had 21 big points, 17 of them coming in the second half.
NUMBER CRUNCH: On the not-so-bright side, St. John's allowed a team that was shooting just 41.3 percent from the field (No. 260 in Division I) to shoot 25-for-51 from the field (49 percent) and 10-for-24 from 3-point range (41.7 percent).
WHAT'S NEXT: St. John's will be back in action at Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 27, when the Red Storm open up Big East play by hosting Providence.