Rapid Reaction: St. John's 77, St. Francis 60

December, 15, 2012
12/15/12
7:16
PM ET
What it means: St. John's improved to 8-3, on a historic day in Big East history.

On the same day the seven basketball-only Big East schools officially announced they were leaving the conference, St. John's -- one of the founding, and exiting, members -- defeated St. Francis (NY), 77-60 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Red Storm have now won two in a row. The Terriers have lost five straight, and dropped to 2-7 on the year.

The turning point: St. John's fell behind 16-9 early in the first half, but stormed back (no pun intended) to lead 45-35 at halftime. Freshman forward Jakarr Sampson almost had a double-double in the first 20 minutes alone, with 16 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard D'Angelo Harrison also poured in 15 points before the break.

St. Francis cut the deficit to five early in the second half, 46-41. But back-to-back treys by Harrison ignited a 10-0 run that effectively put the game out of reach. The Red Storm were never seriously threatened again.

Star watch: After a couple of subpar games, Harrison got back on track, finishing with a game-high 25 points. Sampson is developing into a reliable second scorer for the Red Storm, complementing Harrison -- he finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. And freshman center Chris Obekpa, who came in ranked third in the nation in blocked shots per game (4.9), swatted nine more on Saturday. He also had four points, seven rebounds and five assists.

Sophomore forward Jalen Cannon had 14 points and 12 boards to lead St. Francis.

Number crunch: For a young team, St. John's has done a great job of taking care of the basketball so far this season. Entering the game, the Red Storm were ranked eighth in the country, turning the ball over just 10.3 times per game. They had just eight turnovers on Saturday.

St. Francis came in shooting 45.2 percent from the field on the season, but shot just 31.3 percent on Saturday (21-for-67).

What's next: St. John's will host UNC-Asheville on Friday at 7:30 p.m., at Carnesecca Arena -- the Red Storm's final game before Christmas, and final game before Big East play begins.

St. Francis will host Colgate next Saturday, at 2 p.m.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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