There were solid moments early for St. John’s in the Battle 4 Atlantis opener against Michigan State. There was a lead early, and despite the score, Michigan State had to work for their win.
But a late first half surge and a star turn from Michigan State’s Miles Bridges (22 points, 15 rebounds, three assists) led the Michigan State Spartans to a 73-62 victory in the Battle 4 Atlantis opening round over St. John’s.
St. John’s will play against VCU (Virginia Commonwealth) tomorrow at 7:00 PM, looking for a win against the Atlantic 10 team.
St. John’s got as close as two in the second half, but Bahamas native Lourawls Nairn nailed a three-pointer with over eight minutes to go. From there, Michigan State held St. John’s scoreless for six minutes to take control of a game where the Johnnies were battling tooth an nail, nursing a lead deep into the first half. Bashir Ahmed started off fairly sharp, hitting a pair of threes and looking like a difference maker.
The final score is the one that matters, though, and the Spartans put the clamps on Ahmed, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds after fouling out.
St. John’s shot 4/20 in the first half inside the arc, and 12/43 for the game (28%); the team shot 36% inside the arc. Marcus LoVett led the team with 20 points on 18 shots. Shamorie Ponds added 12. Kassoum Yakwe had four blocks, and LoVett and Ahmed both had seven total rebounds.
Along with Miles Bridges, who had scored 14 of his points and 12 of his rebounds in the first half, the Spartans got 14 from Eron Harris and 13 points from Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn. Freshman Nick Ward added 11 rebounds.