Feb. 6, 2013
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NEW YORK - JaKarr Sampson had 18 points to lead St. John's to a 71-65 men's basketball victory over the University of Connecticut on Wednesday night before a crowd of 8,441 at Madison Square Garden, the Red Storm's sixth win in seven games. UConn is now 15-6 overall and 5-4 in the BIG EAST.
Marco Bourgault and D' Angelo Harrison had 11 points each for the Red Storm (15-8, 7-4 BIG EAST), who gave away all of a 15-point lead but recouped to hold on by going 11 of 12 from the free throw line over the final two and a half minutes.
UConn freshman guard Omar Calhoun (Queens ,N.Y.) had 21 points for the Huskies, who had won their last three games while junoir guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) had 14 - all in the second half - and sophomore DeAndre Daniels (Los Angeles, Calif.) added 12.
St. John's took advantage of another poor shooting game by Connecticut to lead by as many as 15 points - the last time at 39-24 with 16:20 to play.
Napier was the key to the Huskies' 15-1 run that got them within 40-39 midway through the second half. Napier, who entered the game about seven and a half minutes in, hit three three-pointers in as many attempts during the run.
Connecticut took the lead for the first time on two free throws by sophomore Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) that made it 53-51 with 4:30 to play.
St. John's scored the next nine points to take control of the game and the brilliant performance from the free throw line sealed the win. The Red Storm finished 24 of 31 from the line (77.4 percent).
St. John's played without point guard Jamal Branch who sprained an MCL in his knee in the loss to Georgetown. Branch, a transfer from Texas A&M, became eligible on Dec. 21 and is averaging 8.3 points over 10 games.
The Huskies shot 23.5 percent in the first half and the Red Storm took advantage to lead by as many as 14 points. Only Daniels (7) and Boatright (13) scored in the first half for Connecticut as St. John's took a 31-20 lead at halftime.
Neither team scored for the game's first three minutes, when Marc-Antoine Bourgualt hit a three for the Red Storm. Connecticut finally scored a minute later.
This was the fourth straight game - and 12th this season - where Connecticut held its opponent to under 40 percent shooting. The Red Storm finished 21 for 55 (38.2 percent).
The Huskies return to action on Sunday when they travel to Seton Hall for a noon game. The game will be seen on SNY and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Network.