Rapid Reax: St. John's 65, Holy Cross 53

What it means: It's a win, but it wasn't pretty.

St. John's had to scratch and claw its way past Patriot League foe Holy Cross on Wednesday. But the Red Storm got the job done in the end, with a 65-53 victory.

The film review will reveal plenty to work on. But after back-to-back losses to Murray State and Baylor in Charleston over the weekend, these young Johnnies really needed a W. The Thanksgiving turkey will taste much sweeter now. They're now 3-2 on the season.

The skinny: St. John's trailed for much of the first half, by as many as nine (23-14). They rallied to tie the game at 30 at intermission, but gave up way too many easy baskets in the first 20 minutes of play.

The Red Storm scored the first five points of the second half, but the Crusaders didn't back down, answering with seven straight themselves. St. John's finally pushed the lead into double-digits on a Jakarr Sampson bucket just before the final media timeout of the game, and the Red Storm put it away from there.

Star watch: Sampson had his finest game yet -- the freshman scored a career-high 20 points, shooting 10-for-15 from the field. He also had seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Sampson was active on both ends of the floor, and displayed a potent jump shot, in addition to his ability to get to the rim.

D'Angelo Harrison added 17, but had an off night shooting the basketball, finishing 6-for-18 from the field.

Number crunch: Freshman Chris Obekpa, who had a school-record eight blocked shots in the first game of the season, added six more Wednesday. St. John's had 10 blocked shots as a team, and forced 18 Holy Cross turnovers.

What's next: St. John's will host Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., back here at Carnesecca Arena.