St. John’s survives scare from Hofstra in shaky performance
St. Johns toyed with disaster Saturday afternoon.
It danced through fire and somehow didnt get burnt.
Daniss Jenkins made sure of that.
The senior point guard was at his best when the Johnnies were on the ropes and hit the game-icing jumper with 24.5 seconds left to preserve an 84-79 victory over Hofstra at UBS Arena on Saturday afternoon.
He carried us on his back to win the game, coach Rick Pitino said. Every time we had to have a score so they wouldnt take the lead, he did it.
Jenkins scored 15 points in the final 8:05 and finished with 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 33 high-level minutes.
3St. John’s and Rick Pitino held on to beat Hofstra on Saturday. Robert Sabo for NY PostWhenever Hofstra got close, he was there to increase the precarious lead in what was his best performance as a Johnnie.
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The win capped the non-conference slate for St. Johns (9-4), which fell into some bad habits in the victory in terms of turnovers (12), defense (Hofstra shot 48.5 percent from the field) and overall lack of consistent intensity.
It was outscored in the paint, 32-30, by the smaller opponent, apropos of the somewhat underwhelming performance.
Of St. Johns five buy games, this was by far the closest.
The Johnnies won the other four, over Stony Brook, Holy Cross, Sacred Heart and Fordham, by an average of 29.7 points.
This was different. Hofstra is a contender to win the CAA, played Duke close on the road for a half and is ranked 41st in the country in 3-point shooting at 37.9 percent.
It created mismatch problems with a five-out offense and shot 8 of 15 from 3-point range in the second half.
3Joel Soriano dunks the ball against Hofstra on Saturday. Robert Sabo for NY PostTyler Thomas led Hofstra (7-6) with 24 points and six 3-pointers.
Speedy Claxton is one of the best coaches Ive coached against in my lifetime because he takes advantage of every mismatch thats out there and hell sub accordingly, Pitino said. I said that at Iona last year, this is a rising star in our game.
Ultimately, St. Johns prevailed on a day when it didnt have starting power forward Chris Ledlum (sprained ankle) and star center Joel Soriano (14 points) wasnt his usual dominant self. Jordan Dingle had 15 points in his return to the starting lineup and RJ Luis Jr. chipped in 12 points, 10 rebounds and three assists filling in for Ledlum.
Luis, in just his third game of the year, continued to show his immense promise as a two-way player despite shin and hand injuries that had sidelined him for much of the season.
RJ brings a different type of dynamic to us when he can play, Jenkins said. Really what I love about RJ is he has no fear. He just plays. He doesnt think, he doesnt worry about messing up obviously, we have to correct the little things he did mess up on but I like playing with a guy like that.
3Daniss Jenkins puts up a shot as Pride #2 Bryce Washington jumps to defend during the first half on Saturday. Robert Sabo for NY PostJenkins didnt show any fear Saturday, either. When the game was on the line, he made every big play. Perhaps most importantly, he didnt commit a turnover despite his aggression.
Thats my goal every night, to get in the lane and make plays for my teammates, Jenkins said. It just so happened tonight the lane opened up.
Ledlum was getting up shots after the win and appeared to b moving well on his sprained ankle.
Pitino was doubtful he would be able to play Tuesday against Butler, but the senior forward said he was hoping to be available.
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