Max Hooper helps St. John's rally in second half before Red Storm loses to Penn State in overtime, 89-82
D'Angelo Harrison stood at the foul line with two seconds left in regulation and the chance to complete a St. John's comeback from 15 points down against Penn State and seize an inspiring victory. But his first free throw bounced off the left side of the rim, and he could only prolong the game by making the second to force overtime.
Then the Nittany Lions pulled away in the extra session by going 12-for-12 at the foul line for an 89-82 win over the Red Storm (4-2) Friday night in the Barclays Classic at Barclays Center.
"It was disappointing to lose in overtime," coach Steve Lavin said. "But there were positive take-aways -- 20 assists versus nine turnovers and only one [TO] in the second half rallying from 15 points down."
Phil Greene scored 11 of his 14 points in a 20-5 run that tied the score at 67 with 3:11 left in regulation. Penn State (6-1) momentarily restored a four-point lead, but Harrison, who had a team-high 20 points, buried a three-pointer, was fouled and completed the four-point play to knot the score at 71.
"Obviously, we'd love to have that free throw back with two seconds to go," Lavin said. "But we have to be ready to go at 2 p.m. against a hungry Georgia Tech team [in the consolation game Saturday afternoon]."
Ole Miss (5-0) was a 77-67 winner over the Yellow Jackets (5-2) in the opener, getting 16 points from Derrick Millinghaus and 15 each from Demarco Cox, who added 13 rebounds, and Marshall Henderson. Solomon Poole led Tech with 24 points.
The Nittany Lions, who got 29 points from Tim Frazier and 25 from D.J. Newbill, are not likely to be among the cream of the Big Ten crop, but they had no trouble shooting over St. John's zone in the first half on the way to a 40-29 lead. Penn State shot 50 percent from the field and from three-point range (7-for-14).
Max Hooper hit two threes near the end of the first half, and Lavin started him in the second half. Hooper finished with 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc to open things up inside during the comeback.
"When a shooter gets hot, it's dangerous," Hooper said. "Phil and D'Angelo were able to get in the driving lanes when the defense locked on me. That was a big momentum shift."
But Hooper also was called for a flagrant foul with the Red Storm trailing 83-82 with 22.3 seconds left in overtime. Frazier hit two foul shots and then two more on the extended possession to put the game away.
"[Frazier] was trying to get to the basket, and I was trying to take the foul," Hooper said. "We were like two trains running in opposite directions. I guess I hit him in the face."