PSt. John's' Sir'Dominic Pointer with the slam during the NIT...

PSt. John's' Sir'Dominic Pointer with the slam during the NIT Season Tip-Off on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 at St. John's in Queens, N.Y. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

St. John's had another slow start, but did not recover with a dominant second half this time.

The Red Storm still pulled out a 66-53 win over LIU Brooklyn Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena, thanks to a big night from Sir'Dominic Pointer.

Pointer finished with career highs of 18 points and six blocked shots. He shot 8 of 10 from the field and added eight rebounds, two steals and two assists.

"It's a new season and our numbers are back up. This summer I worked harder and it is starting to show up now," Pointer said. "I felt like I was hurting the team by not scoring [last season]. At the end of the day, D'Angelo [Harrison] was getting double-teamed, so now you have to cover me and that opens up everybody else."

Harrison finished with 14 points and seven rebounds and Rysheed Jordan contributed 15 points, shooting 6-for-9, and had four rebounds.

But the Blackbirds were within striking distance with about four minutes remaining.

This all after Division II Franklin Pierce led St. John's 50-43 at halftime on Monday.

LIU (0-1) had no problem breaking St. John's pressure early, with Elvar Fridriksson and Martin Hermannsson handling the ball and running an efficient half-court offense. They either scored or assisted on 10 points, as the Blackbirds jumped out to a 19-12 lead after a Hermannsson layup at the 10:34 mark.

The Red Storm (3-0) tightened its defense in the half-court, breaking out after rebounds and turnovers and ending the half on a 20-7 run and with a 32-26 edge.

Pointer played a critical role during that stretch. The senior slammed home a Harrison miss to tie the score at 21, converted a pair of steals into dunks and nailed two free throws after blocking a shot on the other end.

"Dom has always been an X-factor on the team," Harrison said. "When he plays like this, it's great."

The Blackbirds opened the second half on a 7-0 run, capped by Gerrell Martin's three, to take a one-point lead. But, again, Pointer used his outstanding athleticism to slam Felix Balamou's missed jumper and regain the lead for St. John's with 17:43 left. The Red Storm did not trail again.

"There were a couple of bright spots tonight, but at this stage of the year we know no coach is ever pleased with a team's rate of progress," Steve Lavin said. "There are still several areas we need to improve on. We are 3-0 now and have to get ready for one of the best teams in the Big Ten -- the Minnesota Gophers."

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