Shamorie Ponds, St. John's, College Basketball
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Shamorie Ponds reached a big St. John’s milestone in his career, but it was not enough as the Red Storm lost to No. 6 Xavier, 73-68.

  • Xavier 73 (20-3, 8-2 Big East)
  • St. John’s 68 (10-13, 0-11)
  • Final, Box Score
  • Carnesecca Arena, Queens, NY

St. John’s had No. 6 Xavier on the ropes at Carnesecca Arena, but their problems closing out games came back to bite them again. With the score tied at 67 with 1:04 left, the Musketeers scored six of the game’s final seven points to close out the Red Storm, 73-68.

Despite the loss, it was a milestone night for Shamorie Ponds, who bounced back after a rough game against Butler (two points) on Saturday. Ponds had 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting and he’s now one of ten players in St. John’s history to score over 1,000 points in his first two seasons.

Other than Ponds and Marvin Clark II (19 points, seven rebounds), St. John’s had a tough time finding scoring in other areas and it was largely because of early foul trouble.

Bashir Ahmed did have 12 points and ten rebounds, but he also had three fouls in the first 11 minutes of the game. As for Tariq Owens, his streak of three straight games scoring in double figures was snapped as he didn’t have a single point despite having three blocks.

From an offensive standpoint, it was good to see Clark II step up and help Ponds in the scoring department. It’s the most points he has scored in a game since the 20 he had on December 28 against Providence. He hit four three-pointers, including the game-tying three with 2:10 to go:

When you take a look at this game, Xavier didn’t get great games from either of its stars. Trevon Bluiett only made four of his 16 shots (1-for-9 from downtown) and still had 14 points while J.P. Macura had 15 points on just 3-for-10 shooting (one three-pointer).

While Xavier didn’t get much from its two stars, it was their balanced attack that ended up getting them a critical road win. Quentin Goodin only took six shots, but managed to make five of them as he finished with 13 points and five assists. Plus, Kerem Kanter ended up having 13 points of his own down low.

The problem for St. John’s in this game came down the stretch as they could not do the little things well that get you wins. At the free throw line, they made ten of their 16 attempts as a team and that includes going 2-for-6 in the final four minutes of the game.

During the last two minutes, the Red Storm had some bad possessions. With the score tied at 67 with 1:45 to go, St. John’s couldn’t get a shot off and they were called for a violation. Two possessions later, with the Red Storm down three after a controversial Owens goaltend, Ponds didn’t touch the ball and it was Owens who got called for a traveling possession.


The lack of late-game execution will be the story from tonight, but give St. John’s credit on the defensive end for holding Xavier to two trifectas made in the second half after they made six in the first half. Plus, they did force 16 turnovers on defense, including six from Macura.

So, while Ponds found a way to have a bounce-back night, St. John’s still has to be wondering how will they find a way to get their first Big East win. It is safe to say they let another golden opportunity slip away. Now, eight of their 11 conference losses this year have been decided by seven points or less.

Next Game: St. John’s will get a small break from conference play, but the competition gets tougher. On Saturday afternoon, they will host #4 Duke (19-3, 7-3 ACC) at Madison Square Garden. You can watch the game on FOX at noon ET.

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