NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Freshman JaKarr Sampson had 21 points and seven rebounds and St. John's won its third straight with a 72-60 victory over Rutgers Wednesday night.
Sampson scored 13 second-half points as the Red Storm expanded on a one-point halftime lead. Trailing 28-21, St. John's scored eight straight to close the first half and extended the run to 17 after intermission to open a 38-28 advantage.
Rutgers responded with seven straight to pull within three, but five straight points from Sampson put St. John's up 43-35. The Red Storm maintained a comfortable edge from that point and opened its largest lead at 72-57.
St. John's, which has won its last three road games, shot 59.1 percent (13 for 22) in the second half and 45.3 percent (24 for 53) for the game. Pointer had nine rebounds, seven assists, six steals and two blocked shots.
Eli Carter, Rutgers' leading scorer with a 16.2 average entering the game, had two points and shot 1 for 14, making him 4 for 28 against the Red Storm this year. The Scarlet Knights shot 36.5 percent (23 for 63) with 17 turnovers in losing for the third time in four games.
Rutgers went ahead 6-0 and led for most of the first half, opening its largest advantage at 20-12. Sampson, who told New York reporters earlier in the week that St. John's was the better team the first time the two met, then scored five points in the Red Storm's closing run of the half, and St. John's would lead for the remainder of the game.
Leaving early for the NBA is a risky decision. Some players -- Skal Labissiere, Dejounte Murray -- slid in the draft. Some -- Isaiah Taylor, Troy Williams -- weren't drafted at all.
College basketball coaches across the country will hit the recruiting trail hard in July to target the Class of 2017's top prospects. Which players are the nation's top programs targeting?
The Tar Heels could lose Justin Jackson and Kennedy Meeks after next season. Coach Roy Williams has nearly every top-10 2017 prospect on his board.