The Hawks were the Red Storm’s last opponent before Big East play. St. John’s is looking good headed into conference action with 10 wins.
Supporters at Mohegan Sun were treated to a hectic first half of basketball. Both teams came out on fire, shooting the ball very well in a fast-paced contest. In the first half St. John’s shot 47% from the field and 33% from deep, while Saint Joseph’s shot 46% from the field and 33% from three.
Additionally, both defenses played at a low level in the first half. Shooters were left unattended, and slashers found many of good looks at the rim. Often times, the offense was bailed out by a foul. St. John’s went 11-16 from the charity stripe in the first frame, while Saint Joseph’s went 3-5. Regardless, the Johnnies did create 12 first-half turnovers.
Heading into the break, St. John’s held a slim 44-41 lead. Shamorie Ponds led all scorers with 16 points at the half. Saint Joseph’s was led by James Demery who tallied 12 points.
Saint Joseph’s wasted little time before regaining the lead. Just minutes into the second half, the Hawks opened up a 15-2 run to grab a steady 8 point lead at the under-16 timeout.
St. John’s would quickly claw back into the contest, leaving much of the second half hotly contested. Both St. John’s and Saint Joseph’s exchanged blows as the contest endured.
Luckily for St. John’s, they made just enough plays to drop Saint Joseph’s. Much of the reason the Johnnies hung around long enough because of the number of free throws they shot. They finished 18-28 from the line.
Ponds again acted as a catalyst in this one, contributing 28 points and 5 rebounds. Bashir Ahmed also played very well tallying 16 points and 5 rebounds.
Another reason St. John’s was able to push by the Hawks because of their improved second-half defense. Saint Joseph’s shot a lousy 37% from the field and 20% from deep in the second frame.
Furthermore, St. John’s forced 19 turnovers throughout and blocked a total of 8. Tariq Owens swatted a total of 5 shots.
Although victorious, the Johnnies had a clear issue on the glass. Saint Joseph’s outrebounded the Johnnies 48-36. The Hawks were led in rebounds by Pierfrancesco Oliva who had 18 boards. St. John’s must clean this up before conference play.
The Red Storm return to action on Thursday, December 28th for a home bout with Providence. The Friars have struggled as of late and should prove to be a very beatable opponent for St. John’s at home.