St. John's Jamal Branch, top, fouls Notre Dame's Eric Atkins during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Updated: January 15, 2013 9:40PM
NEW YORK — JaKarr Sampson scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half and St. John’s handed No. 20 Notre Dame its second straight loss, 67-63 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
The Red Storm (10-7, 2-3 Big East), who had lost two straight and four of five, had a 12-point lead midway through the second half and despite giving it all up, they managed to score the game’s final six points for the win, their third straight over the Fighting Irish.
Eric Atkins had a season-high 21 points for Notre Dame (14-3, 2-2), which used an 18-4 run to wipe out the double-digit deficit and take a 61-59 lead with 4:27 to play.
Notre Dame’s last lead came at 63-61 on a drive by Jerian Grant with 2:50 left.
D’Angelo Harrison, the second-leading scorer in the Big East with a 20.6 average, hit a 3-pointer 18 seconds later to give the Red Storm the lead for good at 64-63. Harrison took just three shots in the first half. His only field goals of the game were 3-pointers and he finished with eight points.
St. John’s entered the game leading the nation in blocked shots at 8.56 per game. The Red Storm had nine, the two biggest on two of Notre Dame’s last three possessions in the final 20 seconds.
Harrison blocked a shot by Tom Knight and Sampson made one of two free throws with 19.7 seconds left, Chris Obekpa, who leads the nation with 5.13 blocks per game, got his second of the game when he blocked Pat Connaughton’s drive off his head and out of bounds with 7.6 seconds left.
Phil Greene had 13 points for St. John’s and Amir Garrett added 11.
Grant had 14 points for Notre Dame and Jack Cooley, who was limited to 18 minutes because of foul trouble, added 10.
St. John’s, which came into the game last in the conference in free throw shooting at 61.4 percent, made 12 of 15 from the line with Sampson going 7 of 9.
The teams play again March 5 at Notre Dame.