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St. John’s Falls to NJIT

Sunday at Carnesecca Arena, St. John’s fell 83-74 to NJIT, despite having five players score double figures. The Highlanders made 11 3-pointers and ended with a 52.1 field goal percentage.

Federico Mussini sank five 3-pointers and had a team-high 20 points, leading St. John’s (7-5), while Christian Jones added another 10 points and 11 rebounds for his second-career double-double. Yankuba Sima made six points and had career-high 14 rebounds as the Red Storm finished +9 (45-36) on the glass.  Ron Mvouika scored 12 points, Malik Ellison had a career-high 11 points and Durand Johnson finished with 10 points.

Damon Lynn and Chris Jenkins each scored five 3-pointers to secure the NJIT (7-5) scoring offense. Lynn sunk 32 points and Jenkins ended with 19. The Highlanders shot 11-of-20 or 55.0 percent from long range and made 22-of-29 or 75.9 percent free throws.

The Red Storm scored the first six points of the second half that turned a four-point halftime deficit into a two-point lead. Mussini made a 3 to put St. John’s up 41-39. Lynn fired back with a 3-pointer but another Mussini 3 put St. John’s up 45-44. Jenkins then sunk a 3-pointer later that tied the game before Mussini shot again from downtown to give the Red Storm a 50-47 lead with 14:39 left on the clock.

Mvouika’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to five with only 1:07 left. NJIT turned the ball over and the Red Storm made it a three-point game. The Highlanders ended up breaking the St. John’s pressure on the next possession leading to a bucket by Lynn making it 77-72. NJIT then scored six straight free throws with only 34 seconds left to take the win.

The Red Storm struggled at the free-throw line going 18-of-34 or 52.9 percent in the contest. NJIT turned the ball over 19 times. Sima entered the game second in the nation averaging 3.6 blocks and had three more shots on Sunday. He collected eight of his 14 rebounds on the offensive glass.

St. John’s plays again on Dec. 22 at 9 p.m. with a game against RV/25 South Carolina as part of the Hall of Fame Shootout at Mohegan Sun Arena.

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