D'Angelo Harrison establishes long-range dominance, Red Storm pulls away in second half

St. John's Red Storm guard D'Angelo Harrison reacts St. John's Red Storm guard D'Angelo Harrison reacts during the second half of an NCAA game against the Syracuse Orange at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 15, 2013) Photo Credit: Brad Penner

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D'Angelo Harrison smiled late Saturday afternoon because he set the St. John's record for most career three-pointers made.

He smiled because, as he said, he's a different person -- a better person -- than the one he was when coach Steve Lavin suspended him late last season.

And he smiled Saturday -- so wide it was uncontainable -- because St. John's has won four of its last five and he has played the best basketball of his career, in Lavin's opinion.

Harrison scored a season-high 29 points in a 96-87 win over Youngstown State in front of 4,248 at Carnesecca Arena.

On the team's first possession, the junior guard passed Willie Shaw and became the school's all-time leader in three-point field goals when he netted his 152nd. He was 9-for-15 from the field and 5-for-6 from three-point range.

When asked if he wanted to get the record out of the way early, Harrison smiled and simply said, "Yes."

"I felt good in warm-ups," he added. "I think I only missed three or four shots in warm-ups, so it was feeling good coming out of my hand."

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For Lavin, two of the more telling statistics from Harrison's performance were his four assists and zero turnovers.

"It rounds his game out and makes him a more complete college guard," Lavin said. "It takes our team to another level. You add some leadership, and we're talking about a kid breaking through in his junior year."

In a very physical game, especially early, St. John's played well throughout and pulled away in the second half.

Early foul trouble plagued Orlando Sanchez, but he scored all nine of his points, including two thunderous dunks, after the break. The Red Storm went on a 13-6 run in a span of 3:30 midway through the second half that turned a four-point lead into a 70-59 advantage, capped by Harrison's three-pointer.

The score was tied at 43 at the half because of the play of Youngstown's Kendrick Perry, who had 14 points in the first half but was limited to six more after the break.

Highly touted freshman Rysheed Jordan missed the game and was in Philadelphia because his mother is ill. Lavin said he did not know when Jordan, who recently has emerged on both sides of the court, will be back.

St. John's almost redshirted sophomore Felix Balamou a couple of times this season, Lavin said, but instead started him Saturday in place of Jordan. Balamou, who sat out the first 10 games, played 10 minutes.

Despite being without Jordan, the Red Storm received plenty of solid contributions. Phil Greene IV scored 17 points, JaKarr Sampson had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Sir'Dominic Pointer scored a career-high 16 points.

Harrison said his record likely will be broken someday, but his metamorphosis into more of a leader leaves him with something to which he can always attach his name. "Coach stresses maturity with us every day," Harrison said. "We all had to grow up, me especially, so I did that."

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