After their controversial loss on Saturday night against Seton Hall, St. John’s got on the right track with a blowout win over Marquette.
The big question going into Tuesday night’s game for St. John’s was whether or not there would be any hangover after their loss to Seton Hall on Saturday. Well, the Red Storm answered it quickly and picked up a statement win as they routed No. 16 Marquette, 89-69, at Carnesecca Arena, for their first Big East win of the season. They are now 13-1 on the year and 1-1 in conference play.
Shamorie Ponds had a rough night against the Pirates in the Big East opener, but he got off to a hot start and did not look back. The junior had 11 of the Red Storm’s first 13 points, had 20 points in the first half, and finished the night with 26 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
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While Ponds was more aggressive in this game, it was also a collective effort by the Red Storm as all but two of their 89 came from their five starters. Each starter was able to score in double figures. They shot 53.6 percent from the floor and hit on 11 of their 24 attempts from downtown.
Yes, the offense was a major key to the blowout win. However, the fact that the Red Storm defense held one of the top offenses in the country to under 70 points is a major accomplishment.
All night long, St. John’s was able to frustrate Markus Howard, who is the leading scorer in the Big East. Howard finished the night with eight points on 2-for-15 shooting and the Golden Eagles as a team shot 41.9 percent from the floor. Give credit to guys like Justin Simon, Mustapha Heron, and Marvin Clark II for staying with Howard and making most of his jump shots difficult.
Speaking of Clark II, he once again showed off his efficiency on the offensive end. He had 22 points on 7-for-10 shooting, was 4-for-6 from three-point range, and had seven rebounds. He has now had at least three trifectas in four of his last five games.
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Outside of Ponds and Clark II, Simon had 12 points to go with five rebounds and Heron added 16 points on just seven shots, contributed with eight boards, and had some emphatic exclamation point dunks in the second half.
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Over the course of the last two seasons, Chris Mullin’s team has proven they can play well in the big games as they have continued to play up to their level of competition. He clearly had this team in the right mindset and got them to move on to the next game after Saturday.
True, St. John’s had 11 turnovers in this game, but they were able to move the ball around the court and give themselves the best shots possible more often than not. Tuesday night’s game showed they can be one of the best teams in the Big East when everything is clicking on all cylinders.
The Red Storm also got some reinforcements back on Tuesday as forward Sedee Keita returned to the lineup after missing the bulk of the season due to a knee injury. Keita didn’t score a point in nine minutes, but he provided St. John’s with much-needed size inside and adds more length to the defense.
At a sold-out Carnesecca Arena, St. John’s was able to play a consistent game for 40 minutes and it gave their fans a lot to cheer about. Now, they will look to get their first conference road win on Saturday afternoon (1:00 p.m ET, CBS) when they visit Patrick Ewing and the Georgetown Hoyas.