St. John's and Providence opened their Big East schedules last night with a match-up at Carnesecca Arena that got out of hand pretty quickly. The Red Storm pressed and trapped from the outset, jarring the Friars into early turnovers, harried jumpers, and very few points. St. John's went up by ten points seven minutes into the game, and their lead never fell below double digits after that. Freshman D'Angelo Harrison was hot from outside early and finished with 25 points in his Big East debut, a hefty sum that, alas, was promptly overshadowed by that of a fellow freshman. 'Twas Moe Harkless, Steve Lavin's versatile top recruit, who dominated the second half inside and outside and made himself some history.
Harkless finished with an exceedingly efficient 32 points (on 14-17 shooting!) in 37 minutes. That total puts him atop the top of freshman scorers in their Big East debuts, besting Allen Iverson and Troy Murphy's shared record of 30. Other folks left looking up at Harkless, according to the Post, include Caron Butler, Khalid El-Amin, and Tim Thomas (29 points in their debuts), as well as Jeremy Hazell, and Troy Bell (28 points). Not bad company. Of course, one doesn't consult the records whilst breaking them (I know this from my ample record-breaking experience), so Harkless and Harrison had some charming moments of wonderment in their postgame interviews.
“You set a record for most points?’’ Harrison asked innocently as he followed the line of questions being posed to Harkless by reporters.
“Yeah,’’ said Harkless, pointing to the stat sheet which showed him with 32 points in his freshman Big East Conference debut.
Harrison gasped, “Damn!’’
“That’s what I said!’’ said Harkless.
“I broke Allen Iverson’s record, and Troy Murphy’s,’’ said Harkless, sounding very much like a freshman.
“In points?’’ asked an incredulous Harrison.
“Yeah,’’ said Harkless.
“So, nobody’s ever had more than that?’’ said Harrison.
“Yeah,’’ answered Harkless. “It’s my record.’’
So, that's pretty cool for those two (although one wonders if Harrison now regrets not launching a couple more threes), and pretty cool for the Johnnies, who'd looked a bit shaky in their loss to Detroit and too-narrow victories over Fordham and Texas Pan-American. The blowout victory will hopefully foster some momentum, as they've got a pair of ranked opponents up next on the conference schedule. They're at Connecticut on Saturday, then home against Louisville on Tuesday. Anybody know the scoring records for freshmen in their second and third Big East conference games?