— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) December 18, 2017
Despite not making a single 3-point basket, St. John’s Red Storm was able to defeat the Iona Gaels 69-59 thanks to their defense
- Iona Gaels 59 (5-5)
- St. John’s Red Storm 69 (9-2)
- NCAA Men’s Basketball, Final, Box Score
- Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
In this era of basketball, it is tough to not make a single three-pointer and win a game, let alone win by double digits. Well, that’s what the St. John’s Red Storm did Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Iona Gaels 69-59 to improve their record to 9-2 on the season.
Despite not hitting a perimeter shot (0-for-12), the Red Storm still had all five starters reach double figures led by 16 points from Shamorie Ponds and 15 from both Justin Simon and Bashir Ahmed.
It was a slow start for St. John’s once again, but it was their struggles shooting the ball that stood out. In the first half, the team was just 9-for-28 (32 percent) and only went to the free throw line nine time. Due to Iona making five threes in the first half, the score was tied at 25 going into halftime.
Then, St. John’s came alive in the second half as they scored the first seven points and went on a 15-4 run. After not making a field goal in the first half, Ponds had 14 points in the second half, including a four-point possession in the second half. In addition to his offense, he had four steals to lead the team.
While St. John’s didn’t have the best day shooting, they were 23-of-27 as a team from the foul line and they were able to shut the Gaels down with their defense. The Red Storm forced 16 turnovers and turned those mistakes into 24 points.
Yes, St. John’s is still missing Marcus LoVett, who missed his fourth straight game due to a left knee injury. However, LoVett’s absence gives other players the chance to shine. Ahmed had a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) to go with a pair of blocked shots and Simon joined Ponds with four steals. It is his third game this year with four or more steals.
When you talk about St. John’s defense, they are great at blocking shots. The Red Storm had ten blocks including six from forward Tariq Owens. This gives Owens six straight games with at least three or more blocks. Check out a highlight of the St. John’s block party:
— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) December 17, 2017
So far, St. John’s has been able to avoid the bad loss and it was their ability in the second half to get to the rim and defend that led them to the win. They continue to find different ways to win and today it was with their defense, which can carry them on days when the offense fails to break 70 points. That has happened twice in the last three games.
This was just the second time this year that Iona scored under 70 points. Deyshonee Much had 15 points (four threes) and E.J. Crawford had 12 points in the loss for the Gaels.
Next Game: Before St. John’s starts Big East play, they will take on St. Joseph’s (5-5) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. You can watch the game at 4:30 p.m ET on Wednesday on ESPNU.