St. John’s Red Storm Post Game: Duke Gets Mike Krzyzewski His 1,000 Career Win


St. John’s Red Storm Post Game: Johnnies Fall To Duke, Giving Mike Krzyzewski His 1,000 Career Win

A year and a day ago Carmelo Anthony made New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden history; Sunday afternoon more history was made at MSG, as Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski won his 1,000 career game in the win over St. John’s. A game Red Storm team gave the Blue Devils all they could handle, but couldn’t perform when it mattered most. After opening up a 10-point lead with 8:36 remaining in the game, the Red Storm crumbled, as Duke finished the game on a 26-7 run to get the victory and 1,000 in the career of Coach K.

Duke was fueled most of the afternoon by their starting backcourt, Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones. Cook got the extended run to end the game started with a tough and-one finish in the paint that Jones would follow up with an and-one floater of his own on the next Blue Devil possession. After a Jahilil Okafor and-one on an offensive scramble, Cook nailed a three-pointer with 5:42 remaining to give Duke a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the remainder of the game.

More from Empire Writes Back

Jones later got fouled on a questionable three-point attempt that he kicked his foot on, an NBA-level flop, that helped push the Duke lead to an insurmountable lead that St. John’s was unable to overcome. He knocked down all three free throws, where he was a perfect 10-10 on the game en route to a game-high 22 points. He also went 5-11 from the field and 2-5 from deep. He also added four rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Cook, the lone Senior who gets playing time for Duke, came up big when the team needed him most. He started the comeback as stated before, and then put them over the top just minutes later. He finished the game with 17 points, including 4-8 from three-point land, to go with three rebounds, two assists and three steals.

The main attraction on Duke, at least for the Knicks’ faithful that were in attendance at MSG, was Okafor. He did nothing to dissuade the fans that he is the guy they want in the upcoming NBA Draft. St. John’s was able to contain him for parts of the game, much in part to St. John’s lone big man Chris Obekpa, who made things difficult for Okafor at times with his length. Obekpa pulled down 11 rebounds of his own to go with two steals and one block to combat the supremely talented Okafor.

But, they could not keep him down the whole 40 minutes. Okafor came alive during the Duke run in the second half, making his presence known in the paint on both ends of the court. He would finish the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and one block as he looked like a man amongst boys down the stretch. This was the 19th straight game Okafor has scored in double-figures, as he leads Duke in scoring with 18.6 points per game. His consecutive double-digit scoring games are the second most in Duke history for rookie, trailing only Johnny Dawkins’ 21 straight from the 1982-83 season.

The effort of the St. John’s players cannot be overlooked though, as they came and competed right from the opening tip through the final whistle, they just didn’t have enough at the end. Like many games this season, the Red Storm players looked to wear down a bit as the game got into the final minutes; that is what happens when you play really only five guys. Only two players, Joey De La Rosa and Jamal Branch, came off the bench but played minimal minutes.

Jan 25, 2015; New York, NY, USA; St. John’s Red Storm guard Sir’Dominic Pointer (15) and guard Rysheed Jordan (23) react during the first half against the Duke Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Sir’Dominic Pointer led the way for St. John’s, as he was a force on both ends of the court. He led the team offensively with 21 points, making 9-21 from the field. He stuffed the rest of the stat sheet as well, pulling down nine rebounds to go with four assists, five steals and four blocks as he did everything to keep St. John’s in the game. He may be listed as a guard in the box score but don’t let that fool you; Pointer is a power forward for Steve Lavin, and it causes matchup problems for opposing coaches to deal with as not many power forwards have the skill set Pointer demonstrates.

Rysheed Jordan and Phil Greene IV added some scoring punch for the Red Storm, as the backcourt duo kept Duke on their heels all afternoon. The two combined for 31 points on 12-26 from the field as they were able to get in transition for some easy baskets to get the crowd and teammates pumped up.

Transition is also where the Red Storm missed opportunities. There were four instances they missed out on easy baskets, as D’Angelo Harrison overthrew a streaking Greene on a fastbreak, Pointer missed a layup at the rim on another possession, and threw an alley-oop pass out of the reach of Greene. The last one wasn’t a self imposed blow, as the referees blew an inadvertent whistle when Jordan looked like he may have traveled; it kept St. John’s from scoring an easy basket as they had two players ahead of the field for an easy score.

The biggest surprise of the afternoon was arguably the play of Harrison, who was the fourth highest scoring player for St. John’s on the afternoon, and fouled out at the end of the game as well. Harrison, the do it all guard who leads the Red Storm with 19.5 points per game, was unable to get it going offensively against Duke, scoring only 12 points on 5-14 from the field. A momentous three-pointer in the waning seconds of the first half was waived off, as he didn’t get the ball out of his hands before the shot clock expired.

While St. John’s gave Duke a tough game, it was nothing that Krzyzewski has never seen before. To get to 1,000 wins you have to overcome plenty of adversity, and tonight was no different. Coach K and Duke knew this wouldn’t be a cakewalk against a game Red Storm team that is extremely talented and just lacks depth.

Next: Who Were the Top 25 Athletes in New York Last Year