With a five game winning streak on the line and a chance at their 10th win of the season, St. John's was able to hold off Long Beach State, Monday at Carnesecca Arena, 66-49. Phil Greene scored 16 points but Chris Obekpa was truly 'The Game Changer,' scoring a career high 16 points, grabbing 8 boards and blocking 6 shots.
Sir'Dominic Pointer continued his break out season with another impressive stat line, 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
D'Angelo Harrison was not affective scoring the ball, 9 points, but he did help in other areas as he pulled down 10 rebounds and added 2 assists.
The Johnnies were without their sixth man, Rysheed Jordan, who stayed home sick with a stomach virus. He is expected to return and be healthy for their next game on Sunday. The bench totaled three points on the night without Jordan.
D'Angelo Harrison struggled for most of the game. He had a tough first half as he picked up his second foul at the 14:58 mark and had to sit for 8 straight minutes. After returning, Harrison never got into a groove, finishing with just three points at the break.
With Harrison out of the lineup in the first half, the Johnnies couldn't find any consistent outside shooting. They shot 16 percent from three and had trouble attacking Long Beach State's zone defenses. The 49ers were daring Pointer and Jamal Branch to take perimeter jumpers and that helped them pack in the paint to try to stop Obekpa.
The second half was a different story though as Phil Greene started to find find his openings. He knocked down two critical three balls to open an 8 point lead that put the Johnnies ahead for good.
The key for the Johnnies was once again their spectacular defense. They were able to limit the 49ers transition offense and forced them to shoot only 32 percent from the field and 20 percent from beyond the three point line, including 1-for-13 from three in the opening half.
Senior guard and leading scorer for Long Beach State, Mike Caffey, was held under his season average of 18 points. Branch did a great job of providing ball pressure once Caffey crossed half court and that game plan helped the Johnnies force multiple turnovers.
The Red Storm will head to Brooklyn on Sunday for a matchup against Tulane, who is currently 9-1 and faces their toughest task of the season tonight against Washington.
Rumble will have coverage throughout the week leading up to the game.