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St. John's fails to deny Coach K of his 1,000 win at Madison Square Garden

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The Johnnies played an impressive game for most of the afternoon but Duke kept their poise and battled down the stretch.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

In front of a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden, St. John's was unable to deny Coach Krzyzewski of his 1,000th win Sunday, losing to Duke 77 to 68.

Rysheed Jordan, 18 points, and Sir'Dominic Pointer, 21 points and 9 boards, were the stars of the show for the Johnnies as they both played a tremendous game for 40 minutes. Phil Greene chipped in 13 points while Chris Obekpa, 4 points and 11 boards, did a solid job of containing Jahlil Okafor in the paint until the stretch run.

D'Angelo Harrison, who scored 12 points on 36 percent shooting, struggled for the third straight game. He has battled a calf injury the past two weeks and once again never found his rhythm.

In the first half, Duke went up by as many as 8 points because of St. John's failure to protect the ball. There were too many early turnovers and forced shots but the Johnnies were able to create an 8-3 run sparked by Pointer and Jordan. St. John's was feeding off the crowd by attacking the basket and finishing layups over Okafor and Amile Jefferson.

D'Angelo Harrison's three pointer, from NBA range, capped off an impressive opening half for the Johnnies, who led by four at the break.

In the second half, the Johnnies led by as many as 11 points but they collapsed down the stretch of the game during a 9-0 Duke run when the Blue Devils switched over to a zone.

Tyus Jones was the Blue Devils' go-to guy down the stretch as he forced Jordan to foul him shooting a three and then hit a dagger from the corner with 1:15 remaining.

Even though the Red Storm lost a heartbreaker, there were multiple positives to take out of the game.

Duke is not a great defensive team and the Johnnies took advantage of that for most of the game by moving and distributing the ball to create open shots. They shot 44 percent overall, hit 4 threes and helped themselves get free points at the charity strike.

After that eight point deficit in the first half, St. John's also did a better job of taking care of the basketball, 9 turnovers overall for the game.

Most importantly, Chris Obekpa had a strong game defending Okafor as he constantly denied he the ball and played him physical until Okafor's strength finally took over.

Okafor led the Blue Devils with his efficiency as he shot 7 for 10 from the field and scored 17 points and grabbed 10 boards. Tyus Jones scored 22 points and dished out 6 assists.

The Johnnies (13-6, 2-4) will continue their conference season schedule with a trip to Creighton (9-11, 0-7) on Wednesday.