The guards got going from the opening tip, and the Red Storm poured it on early for an 84-52 win over American International College in their first live exhibition tune up.
The first play was Simon dribbling in from the corner an kicking out to Marcus LoVett for a three, who replaced Simon in the corner. And the second score was LoVett handing off to Ponds for another three.
And with some help on the glass from Marvin Clark II, the Johnnies were off to a comfortable exhibition outing.
St. John’s was led by Shamorie Ponds’ 21 points. Marcus LoVett had 14, Marvin Clark II had 12 (despite shooting 0/6 from beyond the arc), Bashir Ahmed added 11 and Tariq Owens had 10 points. Justin Simon added seven assists, five in the first half. Marvin Clark had 14 rebounds, 12 defensive.
AIC was held to 0.72 points per possession, and were led by returning starter Tahlib Swan.
On the downside, both Ahmed and Amar Alibegovic (four points, three rebounds) fouled out, and Tariq Owens committed four fouls in 20 minutes. The scoring got a little stagnant in the waning minutes of the first half.
With Kassoum Yakwe (ankle) sitting out, foul trouble is a major concern for the team.
But the ball movement was good, and the team looked dedicated to keeping the ball moving versus looking for their shots to carry the team.
Marcus LoVett, in particular, looked to be more active on defense, though the squad definitely was looking to jumpstart the offense with steals. And overall, the St. John’s squad looked like a unit.
Shamorie Ponds: "Last year, everyone was individual. This year, collectively, the team is a whole." #SJUBB— Daly Dose Of Hoops (@DalyDoseOfHoops) November 2, 2017
AIC shot 38% inside the arc and 21% from outside; the Red Storm defense did not let them get comfortable.
St. John’s takes on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Sunday at 1 pm, in New Jersey, as a benefit exhibition.
Apparently, per TV team, St. John’s had an opponent back out of an agreement to play against the Johnnies in the summer, which is why the Johnnies are playing Division II Molloy.
Kassoum Yakwe was out in this game, nursing a sore ankle; he is likely to play on Sunday.