St. John's 67, Notre Dame 63

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- St. John's leading scorer, D'Angelo Harrison, failed to reach double digits for the second consecutive game, but he still helped lead the Red Storm to a 67-63 victory over No. 20 Notre Dame on Tuesday night.

Harrison, who scored eight points, hit a key 3-pointer with 2:31 left in the game, then blocked Tom Knight's attempt at a go-ahead basket in the final minute as St. John's beat a ranked Fighting Irish team at Madison Square Garden for the third straight year.

JaKarr Sampson scored 17 points and Phil Greene added 13 for St. John's (10-7, 2-3 Big East). The Red Storm snapped a two-game losing streak that included a 16-point defeat against Georgetown on Saturday.

Eric Atkins scored a season-high 21 points for Notre Dame, and Jerian Grant added 14. Jack Cooley added 10 points and five rebounds but sat on the bench in crunch time as Notre Dame (14-3, 2-2) lost its second straight game after putting together a 12-game win streak.

The Irish, the Big East leader in 3-point field-goal percentage, were held to just 1-of-9 shooting from long distance.

St. John's Jamal Branch hit both ends of a one-and-one with 7.1 seconds left to give St. John's a 67-63 lead and clinch the win.

After Notre Dame missed several opportunities, Sampson then hit one of two free throws with 19.7 seconds remaining to give St. John's a 65-63 lead. Notre Dame lost the ball out of bounds on its next possession, and Harrison later blocked Knight.

Minutes earlier, Harrison's key 3-pointer came a few moments after he walked off the court bleeding from a collision under the basket.

Trailing 55-43 with just under 11 minutes to go, Notre Dame answered a 16-4 run by St. John's with an 18-4 spurt to take a 61-59 lead with 4:20 left.

Included in the Irish's run was a 3-pointer by Pat Connaughton with 9:08 left, the only 3-pointer of the game for Notre Dame.

The Irish tied the game 59-59 on a dunk by Grant off a dish from Atkins on the break. Atkins, who scored six points during the run, then gave the Irish their first lead since early in the second half.

The Red Storm amped up the pressure defensively during a 16-4 spurt to open a 55-43 lead with 10:54 left in the second half.

St. John's blocked shots on consecutive possessions, including a block by Felix Balamou that led to a fast break that ended with a crowd-pleasing dunk by Amir Garrett off a sweet behind-the-back pass from Harrison. Greene scored seven points during the stretch, including a jumper that put St. John's up 47-39. The Red Storm reeled off eight of the next 12 points, with Harrison hitting a 3-pointer to give St. John's a 55-43 lead.

With the Red Storm applying increased defensive pressure to force some Notre Dame turnovers, and with St. John's shooting effectively, the home team took a 32-31 lead into halftime.

The Red Storm held Notre Dame under 50 percent from the floor and without a 3-pointer before halftime, while Sampson led St. John's with 14 first-half points.

St. John's took its first lead of the game -- and first in nearly 56 minutes in its past two games -- with 3:51 left in the first half. Sampson scored six of the Red Storm's eight points during an 8-2 run that he capped with a jumper to put his team on top 26-25.

Notre Dame threatened to turn the game into a second straight blowout loss for St. John's early, jumping out to a quick lead, as Georgetown had on Saturday. Cooley scored four points during a 10-4 spurt to open the game, but Garrett, coming off the bench after St. John's started three guards, hit the next two baskets for the Red Storm. St. John's eventually closed within 17-16.

NOTES: Harrison scored just two points in the first half and was 0-for-3 from the floor, all on 3-pointers. ... Notre Dame lost its previous two meetings against the Red Storm, both times at the Garden, when the Irish were ranked. That included last season, when St. John's won 61-58 to end Notre Dame's nine-game winning streak. ... The teams will meet again on March 5 at Notre Dame. ... The Irish entered the game shooting 50.8 percent from the field, which not only topped the Big East, but put them fifth in the nation. Notre Dame was ninth in 3-point shooting at 41.8 percent.
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