St. John's led by as many as 17 in the first half, and by 12 at the 16:42 mark of the second half. However, that was when Asheville would start their run, with Atkinson scoring 13 of the Bulldogs' 23 points during the 11-minute span as the Bulldogs took a seven-point lead. St. John's would respond with a 7-0 run of their own to tie it at 65, but Ketih Hornsby knocked down a three-pointer with just over a minute left, and Atkinson would close it out from the free throw line.
Atkinson's 31 points and nine rebounds led the defending Big South champions, while Hornsby added 14. The Bulldogs outrebounded St. John's by six. D'Angelo Harrison led the Red Storm with 24, while JaKarr Sampson added 17.
St. John's drops to 8-4 with the loss, while Asheville improves to 5-7. The Red Storm are off until the Big East opener, Jan. 2 at Villanova.