Rapid Reax: St. John's 96, Youngstown 87

NEW YORK -- Some quick thoughts on St. John's 96-87 win over Youngstown State on Saturday at Carnesecca Arena:

What it means: St. John's wins its second in a row, despite being without Rysheed Jordan, who missed the game to be with his ailing mother.

The Red Storm have been playing well on defense, but it was offense that led to this W. St. John's is now 8-3 on the season. Youngstown State drops to 8-6.

The turning point: After a helter-skelter first half that featured 12 lead changes, the teams were tied at 43 at intermission. D'Angelo Harrison and Sir'Dominic Pointer scored 13 points apiece in the first 20 minutes.

The Red Storm gradually pulled away in the second half. An Orlando Sanchez conventional 3-point play pushed the lead to double digits for the first time, 65-55, with 13:42 remaining. The Penguins hung around the rest of the way, but never got closer than six points.

Star watch: Harrison finished with a season-high 29 points, shooting 9-for-15 from the field and 5-for-6 from 3-point range. (He also had six rebounds and four assists.) With his first trey of the game, less than a minute in, Harrison became St. John's all-time leader in 3-point field goals, passing Willie Shaw.

Three other St. John's players were in double figures: Phil Greene IV (17 points), Jakarr Sampson (16 points 13 rebounds) and Pointer (16 points). Kendrick Perry had 20 points to lead Youngstown State.

Sophomore guard Felix Balamou, who sat out the first 10 games of the season with plans to redshirt him, was activated by St. John's coach Steve Lavin before the game, and inserted into the starting lineup. Balamou scored two points in 10 minutes of action.

Number crunch: St. John's had a heck of a shooting day -- 30-for-59 from the field (50.8 percent), 8-for-12 from beyond the arc (66.7 percent) and 28-for-37 from the foul line (75.7 percent). The Red Storm shot 16-for-27 (59.3 percent) from the floor in the second half.

What's next: St. John's returns to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a game against Columbia next Saturday afternoon -- the team's last nonconference game before Big East play commences on New Year's Eve.