Tariq Owens Big East
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

With a scoring surge in the second half, the St. John’s Red Storm were able to advance to the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament with an 88-77 win over Georgetown.

  • St. John’s 88 (1-0)
  • Georgetown 77 (0-1)
  • Big East Tournament, Final, Box Score
  • Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

The Big East Tournament got underway on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden with old rivals going at it with St. John’s taking on Georgetown.

Despite the Red Storm trailing by six at the half, the Red Storm attacked the basket in the second half and it led to an 88-77 win over the Hoyas as Chris Mullin finally beat Patrick Ewing on the third try for this season.

While the Red Storm only made five of their 18 three-pointers, they did a great job of attacking the rim with their guards. Shamorie Ponds made his return to the lineup after missing the last two games with an abdominal injury. He had a team-high 26 points (9-for-13 shooting) with three assists and two rebounds.

Ponds ended up being the leading scorer, but Justin Simon’s impact was critical to the Red Storm getting a win. Simon picked up two quick fouls in the first few minutes and had to sit until the eight-minute mark of the first half. With St. John’s down 30-20, he came back in and had six of the team’s next ten points, which ended up cutting the deficit to 31-30 at the time.

When Simon is on triple-double watch, the Red Storm are usually in a good position to win the game. Tonight, he had 16 points, ten rebounds, six assists, and four steals. He didn’t attempt many shots, but his efficiency was key and he did a good job in transition as well (5-for-6).

The key for St. John’s finding a way to get the win was their balance on offense. They had all five starters finish the game in double figures and shot 54.4 percent as a team from the floor. Tariq Owens had 13 points and Marvin Clark II emerged in the second half as a primary scorer (finished with 16 points).


If you go off just the shots St. John’s took from two-point range, they were 26-for-39 (66.6 percent). Of course, it does help when the Red Storm can get those alley-oops at ease, but the team is at their best when they can turn the defense into offense. For example, check out how a block by Owens ended up leading to a three-point play midway through the second half:

As for Georgetown, they were unable to find that third scoring option to help out Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson. Govan had a game-high 28 points to go with 11 rebounds and Derrickson had six three-pointers (20 points), but it was not enough in the end for the Hoyas.

This was a big win for the Red Storm because you know Mullin did not want to lose three times in the same season to Ewing when the former Knick center is in his first year as a coach. It is the second straight year that St. John’s has knocked Georgetown out of the conference tournament. Now, they hope for a much better quarterfinal this year compared to last year (108-67 loss to Villanova).

Next Game: The Red Storm will be back in action tomorrow afternoon when they take on the top seed, the Xavier Musketeers. You can watch the game at noon ET on FS1. Xavier won both meetings in the regular season, but the Red Storm only lost by a combined 11 points. If the Red Storm can put pressure on Xavier defensively, they have a chance to keep this game competitive.

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