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St. John’s Routs American International In First 2017-18 Exhibition Game

The St. John’s men’s basketball team started their exhibition season with a blowout win over American International.

  • American International 52 (0-0)
  • St. John’s 84 (0-0)
  • Exhibition, Final, Box Score
  • Carnasecca Arena, Queens, NY

It may have only been an exhibition game, but the St. John’s Red Storm dominated from start-to-finish in their 84-52 win over Division II American International University last night. The Red Storm never trailed in this game, a stark contrast to their embarrassing loss to St. Thomas Aquinas two years ago.

St. John’s had five players score in double figures, including Shamorie Ponds, who had a game-high 21 points. Last year’s scoring trio of Ponds, Marcus LoVett, and Bashir Ahmed combined for 46 of the team’s 84 points and the team shot 50.8 percent from the floor.

Last night gave fans the first chance to watch new transfers Justin Simon and Marvin Clark II. Clark was a factor at both ends of the floor as he had a double-double (12 points and 14 rebounds) to go with a pair of blocks and three steals.

As for Simon, the guard had six points, seven assists, four rebounds, and three blocks. He didn’t have any steals, but he created opportunities for his teammates, especially in transition. If he can be the distributor, that will allow Ponds and LoVett to have more opportunities to play off the ball and score.

Defensively, St. John’s did a good job forcing turnovers and holding the Yellow Jackets to just 32 percent shooting from the floor and 4-for-19 from downtown. While AIC isn’t on the level of the teams they will see in the Big East, the defense is one of the main areas the Red Storm need to improve on this year to make a run to the postseason.

In the frontcourt, Tariq Owens had four blocks and four rebounds, but the team was without one of their big men in Kassoum Yakwe. Yakwe was out with an ankle injury, but it doesn’t sound like he will miss time with the regular season begins:

If there was a negative to point out from the game, it’s that St. John’s had a few players in foul trouble in the first half and two players (Ahmed and Amar Alibegovic) foul out midway through the second half. Since the Red Storm rely on Ahmed for scoring and his rebounding at either the three or four spot on the floor, they need him to stay out of foul trouble.

St. John’s will be back in action on Sunday afternoon when they take on Rutgers at the RAC. The game will be at 1 p.m ET. All proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to American Red Cross Disaster Relief.

I graduated from St. John's University with a degree in sports management. I previously wrote about the Johnnies at Rumble In the Garden.