Everyone on St. John’s was crushed when Marquette’s Vander Blue drove for the winning layup in the Golden Eagles' 69-67 overtime victory in the regular-season finale Saturday at Madison Square Garden. But no one took it harder than Sir’Dominic Pointer.
Ordinarily, Pointer (No. 15 pictured) would have been assigned to cover Blue, but he was suspended for a game for throwing a punch that started a fight with Notre Dame’s Cameron Beidscheid the previous game. “It hurt not being able to help my team,” Pointer said on Tuesday.
The Red Storm (16-14) will have its defensive stopper in place for its Big East tournament opener against Villanova (19-12) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Garden. St. John’s coach Steve Lavin has described Pointer as the “Costco” guy on the team because he supplies so many good things for his teammates. Now, Pointer has a better understanding of how important his leadership can be when he’s at his best.
“I feel I’ve got to step up even more,” Pointer said. “It’s a whole new season right now. Everyone in the Big East is even now. I feel we’ve got a chance to do something special still and make it to the NCAA tournament, hopefully.”
Looking back at the Marquette loss, Lavin said he talked to Pointer about how he would have defended Blue on the game-winning shot and could have made the difference in the outcome. “I haven’t seen too many guys score on Dom once he locks in,” Lavin said. “His action at Notre Dame was unacceptable, and it had consequences against Marquette.
“Dom is such an authentic, pure kid that I don’t need to beat him up any more than he has been. He didn’t want to let his teammates down and embarrass the university.”
Lavin added that some kids might act contrite in a similar situation but not mean it. But in Pointer’s case, the coach said, “It’s real. It hit him hard. Hopefully, that’s a valuable lesson.”