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Rapid Reaction: St. John's 67, N. Dame 63


What it means: St. John's is one of the most unpredictable teams in college basketball.

Three days after getting embarrassed at home by No. 19 Georgetown, the Red Storm upset No. 20 Notre Dame at Madison Square Garden, 67-63.

St. John's now owns two wins against nationally ranked opponents this season and improves to 10-7 overall, 2-3 in Big East play. Notre Dame suffers its second loss in a row and drops to 14-3, 2-2 in the conference.

The turning point: Notre Dame jumped out to an early six-point lead and maintained the lead for most of the first half. St. John's went in front for the first time on a Jakarr Sampson bucket with 3:51 left before intermission, making it 26-25, and took a 32-21 lead into the locker room.

Trailing 39-37 early in the second half, St. John's went on a 10-0 run, taking a 47-39 lead. The Red Storm eventually led by as many as 12, 55-43, on a D'Angelo Harrison trey with just under 11 minutes remaining. But Notre Dame responded with a run of its own, retaking the lead 61-59 with 4:27 left.

The game came down to two defensive plays by St. John's. With the Red Storm leading 64-63, Harrison blocked a Tom Knight lay-in attempt with 20 seconds remaining. Sampson got the rebound, was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws. Then, with 7.6 seconds left, a Pat Connaughton shot attempt in the paint was blocked by Chris Obekpa, and the ball went out of bounds off Connaughton. Jamal Branch buried two free throws to ice it.

Star watch: Harrison, averaging 20.6 points per game, had his second consecutive game in single digits. He scored just eight points but made a couple of big 3-pointers in the second half and also had a couple of great passes, plus the sensational block at the end. Sampson had a team-high 17 points for St. John's, and Phil Greene chipped in 13.

Eric Atkins had a game-high 21 points for Notre Dame.

Number crunch: St. John's was one of the worst free throw-shooting teams in the country entering the game, making just 61.4 percent as a team. Foul-shooting cost them a game against Rutgers last week, and they were just 6-for-16 against Georgetown on Saturday. But the Red Storm made 12 of 15 against Notre Dame, and it paid off in a big way.

What's next: After playing three games against Top 25 teams in the past four-game stretch, St. John's enters a softer part of its Big East schedule. The Red Storm next play at DePaul, on Saturday at noon.

Notre Dame hosts Rutgers on Saturday at 8 p.m.