St. John’s struggles last year seem to be in the rear-view mirror following two convincing wins.
Coming off a sound victory against Bethune-Cookman, St. John’s played host to a sneaky Binghamton team.
Throughout the first-half, Binghamton had numerous open looks from behind the arc. The Bearcats inability to cash in from deep held them back in the first-half, only converting 5 of 16 three-point field goal attempts during the first 20 minutes. Binghamton was getting these good looks mainly because St. John’s was giving up the perimeter, focusing their attention to protecting the paint.
On the other end, St. John’s did a great job sharing the ball, and grabbing offensive rebounds. Half of their first-half baskets were assisted. In addition, St. John’s tallied 9 offensive rebounds which lead to 11 second-chance points.
One thing St. John’s failed to do in the first-half was let the offense progress, and take smart shots. At times the Johnnies hurled up ill-advised three-pointers, shooting a mere 28% from beyond the arc, on 14 attempts.
Heading into the halftime break, St. John’s held a 39-32 lead. Kassoum Yakwe concluded the half with a bang, slamming home a dunk off a missed three-point attempt.
While Binghamton did cut St. John’s lead early in the second-half, superb defense allowed the Johnnies to extend their slim lead, to a much more comfortable one. The Bearcats turned the ball over 21 times, and shot 37% from the field.
Ultimately, St. John’s controlled in almost every facet of this contest.
Rebounding, St. John’s secured 41 rebounds as opposed to Binghamton’s 39. An encouraging 11 of St. John’s rebounds came on the offensive end. Those offensive rebounds helped pad the Johnnies offensive output in the paint.
Last season, St. John’s lost the turnover battle game in and game out. Tonight, St. John’s turned the ball over 16 times as opposed to Binghamton’s 21.
Once again, St. John’s did a splendid job protecting their basket, swatting a total of 6 Binghamton shots. Teams around the nation are starting to realize that St. John’s doesn’t give up anything easy around the rim.
Fans will remember the impressive play of young guards Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett. Both players were active on the defensive end, creating turnovers and keeping opposing guards in front of them. On offense, both guards were knocking down shots, getting into the lane, and assisting wide-open teammates.
Ponds, arguably St. John’s best player tonight, finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.
LoVett concluded the contest with a game-high 23 points. He added 4 assists and rebounds to his totals, while shooting 57% from the field.
In addition to St. John’s stellar guard play, the Sima and Yakwe duo feasted down low. Both players were blocking shots and finishing easy buckets around the rim. Sima finished with 8 points, and 5 rebounds. Yakwe tallied only 2 points, but made up for it with 5 blocks and 4 rebounds.
For Binghamton, J.C Show played very well, concluding this game with 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Next up for St. John’s, a road contest at Minnesota. This will be the first real test for the Johnnies as they head on the road to play a Big Ten opponent. Hopefully the Red Storm can build off these two victories and prevail before heading to Atlantis.
As for Binghamton, they return home to play Donyell Marshall’s Central Connecticut State Blue Devils.