Shamorie Ponds’ return to the St. John’s lineup wasn’t enough to get the Red Storm past Creighton. The Johnnies are now 0-3 in Big East play.
- St. John’s 71 (10-5, 0-3 Big East)
- Creighton 78 (12-3, 2-1)
- Final, Box Score
- CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Nebraska
A layup by Marvin Clark II with 15:18 left in the second half gave St. John’s a 10-point lead over Creighton, 56-46, in Shamorie Ponds’ return to the starting lineup. But it wasn’t enough, as the Bluejays went on a 16-2 run and hung on to win, 78-71. With the loss, St. John’s is now one of only two teams in the Big East without a conference win.
In Ponds’ first game since Dec. 28, he had 12 points, but only hit 5 of his 14 shots. While he struggled shooting the ball, the point guard made a difference with his defense as he had five of the Red Storm’s 13 steals.
The two players who made the difference for Creighton in this game were the two guards, Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas. Foster had a game-high 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting, including 5-for-8 from downtown. As for Thomas, he broke out in the second half and finished the game with 17 points.
This game had a lot of big runs for both teams. After Creighton had a 36-29 lead with 4:34 left in the first half, the Red Storm went on a 14-0 run heading into halftime. That run was led by Ponds and Tariq Owens as they each had five points for St. John’s during that stretch.
As far as the leading scorer for St. John’s, that ended up being Bashir Ahmed. Ahmed had a season-high 21 points and was 4-for-8 from downtown. In fact, all five starters scored in double figures, including Owens and Justin Simon, who each had 14 points. Plus, Simon had one of his signature highlight dunks
— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) January 4, 2018
In the first half, St. John’s was hitting their perimeter shots as they were 8-for-17 from beyond the arc. But, in the second half, they only hit one three-pointer and that led to their offense getting out of rhythm.
After taking a 56-46 lead with 15:18 left, St. John’s did not hit another basket until Ponds made a layup with 8:23 to go. In fact, the team only had 13 assists for the game and six of them came from Simon. Meanwhile, Creighton was driving to the basket and making the extra pass, which led to them making 52.8 percent of their shots for the game.
Creighton had a 73-71 lead with 40 seconds to left and Marvin Clark II went to the free throw line for a 1-and-1. Clark II, who is one of the team’s best free throw shooters, ended up missing the free throw and Thomas hit a three-pointer for the Blue Jays on the next possession to seal the win:
(Cue @TimBrando voice)
And the iron is VERY KIND!
— #BIGEASThoops (@BIGEASTMBB) January 4, 2018
On defense, the return of Ponds to the lineup made the steal and the turnover numbers go up. In addition to the 13 steals, St. John’s forced 17 turnovers and only gave up the ball up seven times.
However, the problem for the Red Storm was on the glass as Creighton outrebounded them 42-23 for the game. Martin Krampelj led the way for the Blue Jays with 11 rebounds and the team even got 15 rebounds off the bench from guards Ronnie Harrell Jr. (eight) and Ty-Shon Alexander (seven).
Next Game: The St. John’s Red Storm will be back in action Saturday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena when they will take on the other winless Big East team, the DePaul Blue Demons (7-8, 0-3). You can watch the game on YES at 2 p.m ET.