St. John’s basketball pulls away late to take down La Salle

St. John's basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
St. John's basketball (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

St. John’s basketball fights off second-half challenge to take down La Salle. 

After nearly a week off due to its midweek match with Iona being canceled because of COVID-protocols, the St. John’s basketball team got back in action taking on a solid La Salle Explorers team that got out to a 6-3 start to the season.

The game was played at a frantic pace from the beginning and despite the layoff the Red Storm jumped out to an 18-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

St. John’s grew its lead, outscoring the Explorers 21-15 in the second quarter to head to the halftime break with a 38-29 advantage.

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The Johnnies built that lead with star junior Leilani Correa struggling in the first half, scoring only five points on 2-for-9 shooting.

A large part of that was the play of Danielle Patterson. The graduate student transfer from Indiana played a more than expected 36 minutes due to Danielle Cosgrove’s struggles in the game and Patterson’s success against La Salle’s zone defense.

Head coach Joe Tartamella said postgame that he did not ever expect that Patterson would play those kinds of minutes, but the Brooklyn native provided a huge lift in the game for St. John’s notching 14 points and 17 rebounds.

Unique Drake also poured in 10 points off the bench and was highly praised by Tartamella after the victory for the energy the junior guard brings to the team.

St. John’s basketball needs one last push to secure victory

However, La Salle would not go away quietly, putting together some big runs in the third quarter and ultimately closing the St. John’s lead to six, 58-52, going into the final 10 minutes.

Junior guard Claire Jacobs and leading scorer Kyla Spruill were mainly responsible for La Salle’s comeback in the game, scoring 23 and 19 points, respectively, in the effort for the Explorers.

The gap was eventually cut to just two with six minutes left in the game, but Camree Clegg beat the shot clock with a massive corner 3-pointer to give the Johnnies some breathing room.

St. John’s would not look back after the shot from Clegg.

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As quiet as Correa was in the first half, the star junior guard could not be kept down as she came alive in the second half to seal the game for St. John’s, finishing with 25 points to lead all scorers.

The Johnnies would seal the 83-70 victory to move to 5-4 (1-0 Big East) on the season.

St. John’s will have a quick turnaround with its next game will take place tomorrow against Wagner in Staten Island at 2:00 p.m. EST.

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