Julian Champagnie scored 15 his 23 points in the second half as host St. John's withstood a fierce challenge from St. Francis of Brooklyn and eked out a 76-70 victory Tuesday night in Queens, N.Y.
The Red Storm (4-1) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half thanks to Champagnie, who posted his fourth 20-point game this season.
St. John's used a 20-4 run that was aided by Champagnie's offense coming alive. After St. Francis held a 64-55 lead on two free throws by Michael Cubbage with 10:06 remaining, Champagnie converted a layup off a steal for a 65-64 lead with 6:14 remaining.
Champagnie added another layup and hit two free throws as the Red Storm extended their lead to 73-66 with 3:58 remaining. The Red Storm scored three points the rest of the game, but St. Francis could not capitalize as it missed its last six shots and seven of its final eight.
Champagnie shot 10 of 20 and also contributed six rebounds, five assists to go along with four steals and four blocks.
Montez Mathis added 20 on 8-of-10 shooting to offset the absence of Posh Alexander (lower leg strain) as the Red Storm shot 56.9 percent. Dylan Addae-Wusu and Stef Smith added 10 apiece for St. John's which scored 56 points in the paint and 23 points off turnovers.
Tedrick Wilcox Jr. scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half when St. Francis (0-4) raced out to a 16-4 lead and held a two-point lead at halftime. He finished 7-for-11 and made five 3-pointers.
Larry Moreno added 15. Cubbage and Patrick Emilien contributed 12 apiece as the Terriers shot 40 percent and hit 11 3-pointers. Moreno also committed six of the 21 St. Francis turnovers.
Wilcox scored 12 as the Terriers ripped off 14 straight points and took a 16-4 lead on his fourth 3-pointer with 14:31 remaining. St. John's responded with 13 straight points and forged a 19-19 tie on a dunk by Aaron Wheeler with 10:49 remaining.
Wilcox hit his fifth 3-pointer with 8:14 remaining for a 28-19 lead and the Terriers held a 40-38 lead at halftime after Addae-Wusu hit a layup at the buzzer. St. Francis scored the first eight points of the second half for a 48-38 lead on a layup by Wilcox less than two minutes in.
--Field Level Media