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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Rapid Reaction: St. John's 69, USF 54

By Kieran Darcy

What it means: St. John’s took care of business against the worst team in the Big East.

In the final game of the season at Carnesecca Arena, in front of a sellout crowd of 5,602, the Red Storm defeated South Florida, 69-54. St. John’s improved to 16-10 overall, 8-6 in the Big East. The Bulls dropped to 10-16 overall, 1-13 in the conference.

The Red Storm entered play Wednesday as the No. 3 team on the outside looking in, according to ESPN NCAA tournament bracketologist Joe Lunardi. A home win against last-place South Florida won’t boost the résumé a whole lot, but a loss Wednesday night would have been a major black eye.

The turning point: St. John’s scored the first eight points of the game, led by as many as 18 in the first half, and led 33-17 at intermission. South Florida is one of the worst offensive teams in all of Division I statistically, and the Bulls certainly looked the part (see below).

St. John’s opened the second half on an 8-2 run, taking its largest lead, 41-19, with 15:47 left in the game. South Florida didn’t fold, closing to within nine, 59-50, with 1:25 to play. But the Red Storm put the Bulls away from there.

Star watch: Jakarr Sampson and D’Angelo Harrison carried the scoring load, as usual, for St. John’s. Sampson had a game-high 20 points, while Harrison added 18. Sir'Dominic Pointer had a great all-around game (12 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists).

Victor Rudd had a team-high 18 points for South Florida.

Number crunch: South Florida shot 21-for-57 from the field (36.8 percent), 9-for-28 from beyond the arc (32.1 percent) and 3-for-12 from the foul line (25 percent).

What’s next: St. John’s plays No. 20 Pittsburgh at Madison Square Garden, Sunday at noon.