St. John’s began their season with a sound 77-61 victory over New Orleans. Entering Chris Mullin’s third season, fans around New York are expecting more wins like this one.
Much of the first half was tightly contested, with each side going back and forth. Headed into the break, St. John’s led 37-28.
Part of the reason New Orleans hung around early on was because of numerous St. John’s turnovers. The Privateers forced nine in the first half alone. Bashir Ahmed contributed to four of those.
Additionally, the Johnnies did themselves no favors allowing New Orleans so many free-throws. The Privateers shot 9-11 from the charity stripe in the first frame. Conversely, St. John’s did not attempt a free-throw until 16 minutes into the contest.
Nevertheless, the Red Storm prevailed behind incredible play from their guards. Shamorie Ponds, Marcus LoVett, and Justin Simon combined for 44 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. LoVett had 23 of those 44 points. This trio has the looks of one of the nation’s best backcourts.
As for the frontcourt, Marvin Clark proved why he was highly touted out of high school. He contributed 15 points and 3 rebounds. Ahmed also tallied 10 points and 2 rebounds of his own.
Collectively, the Johnnies fared well shooting the ball from deep. The Red Storm shot 40% from deep, attempting 30 total shots from beyond the arc. Three-point shooting once again appears to be a critical portion of the Red Storm offense.
Furthermore, St. John’s played some very solid defense. Impressively, they forced New Orleans into 21 turnovers. They also held the Privateers to 39% from the field and 29% from the perimeter.
St. John’s will next take the hardwood on Tuesday night against Central Connecticut State. It is unclear if Blue Devils head coach Donyell Marshall will be on the sidelines. As the Hartford Courant writes, Marshall is missing the first two games of the season regarding an investigation from the school.