#SJUBB drops first game of the season despite a career-high 31 points from Shamorie Ponds.
— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) November 24, 2017
St. John’s had trouble defending the three-point line and it hurt them this afternoon in their 90-82 loss to Missouri.
- St. John’s (5-1) 82
- Missouri (5-1) 90
- Final, NCAA, Box Score
- HP Field House, Orlando, Florida
For St. John’s, this afternoon’s AdvoCare Invitational game against Missouri was a chance to make a statement against a team without Michael Porter Jr. Instead, the Red Storm had trouble defending the perimeter as they lost to the Tigers in an offensive shootout, 90-82.
The story of this game should’ve been the great performance by Shamorie Ponds as he had a career-high 31 points to go with five rebounds and seven assists. But, despite coming back from a 14-point deficit in the first half, St. John’s could not hold on to an eight-point lead they had with 12:20 left in the game.
For Missouri, they were able to get red hot from beyond the arc. Out of the 14 threes they took in the second half, they made nine of them. The two players that got hot from beyond the arc were guard Kassius Robertson (5-for-7) and forward Jontay Porter (4-for-7), who is Michael Porter Jr.’s brother.
St. John’s shot the ball well in the second half (16-for-32), but it was not enough. After the game, head coach Chris Mullin talked about the defense and how getting aggressive can sometimes lead to open shots for the opposition:
“I think on defense we want to apply pressure, but not gamble,” he said, via the school’s website. I think applying pressure will force turnovers, and sometimes when we get down we get a little over-zealous and gamble for steals. Most of the time that opens up good things, but sometimes it opens up other things.”
While St. John’s has looked like a much better defensive team in their first six games, the three-point defense has been an issue since the team started the AdvoCare Invitational. In those two games, opponents have shot 49 percent from beyond the arc (25-for-51).
The Johnnies did force 16 turnovers today, so they are still getting their fair share of forced turnovers. But their lack of depth shows up in these big games when Marvin Clark II and Tariq Owens foul out while Bashir Ahmed had four fouls. Clark II, who only had three points today, picked up his fourth foul at the 19:17 mark of the second half.
With the lack of depth, Missouri was able to outscore the Red Storm 32-8 in terms of bench points, led by Porter’s 16. While Kassoum Yakwe and Owens have done a good job in providing a spark off the bench, they can’t fill up the scoreboard like the Tigers can.
Justin Simon came close to a triple-double in this game as he had nine points, nine rebounds, and eight assists, but he also had five turnovers. Simon was the team’s leading rebounder, but St. John’s got beaten on the glass by Missouri, 41-27.
Next Game: St. John’s will play in the third-place game Sunday afternoon at noon. They will face the loser of tonight’s other semifinal game between UCF and 23rd ranked West Virginia.