It was a lifeless crowd when the St. John's basketball team took the floor against Hofstra at UBS Arena on Saturday afternoon but Daniss Jenkins nearly made history for the 7,486 in attendance.
The Red Storm point guard narrowly missed a triple-double with 21 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in the Johnnies' 84-79 victory over Hofstra.
Jenkins was the best player on the floor for St. John's, which was playing shorthanded with Chris Ledlum (ankle) sidelined, and was a factor in every key play in the final four minutes that kept the Pride from moving inside a 3-point margin of the Storm.
A putback dunk by Joel Soriano, off an offensive rebound from Jenkins, with 3:04 left extended the St. John's lead to five, 75-70, and he would make it a two possession game, 79-74, on a difficult elbow jumper with 25.5 seconds remaining.
“I can’t lose him. He’s like a stray dog that keeps coming back," Rick Pitino said of his point guard.
The Hall of Famer needed every ounce of what Jenkins would give him because even against an undersized Hofstra team, Soriano did not look like himself despite 14 points.
"I think [Soriano] had an off night," Pitino said.
He did not have a rebound in the first half and finished with just four boards.
St. John's extended its lead to as many as 13 points, 45-32, with a 9-0 run to begin the second half but Hofstra would make 8-of-15 3-pointers in the second half to prevent the Johnnies from turning the game into a rout.
The top two leading scorers for Hofstra had half of the Pride's points as Tyler Thomas, the leading scorer, had 24 points on 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and Darlinstone Dubar went for 23 points.
Thomas nearly brought Hofstra within a point of the Red Storm with 1:32 left but his layup hung on the right side of the rim and fell out.
St. John's finishes its non-conference schedule 8-3 and will return to Queens for the final time this season as Posh Alexander makes his return to Carnesecca Arena with Butler on Tuesday night (8:30 p.m. ET, FoxSports1).