It has been 238 days since we last saw St. John’s play Xavier in the Big East Tournament. In their much anticipated return to Carnesecca Arena, St. John’s opened with an exhibition against Maryville University.
With Mustapha Heron out for the exhibition, the first look for the Red Storm Nation at the St. John’s starting lineup was a peek at Shamorie Ponds, Marvin Clark II, Justin Simon, Sedee Keita, and L.J. Figueroa.
Coach Mullin had the Red Storm pressing throughout the first half, despite only playing 7 in the first half. The pressure from the St. John’s defense forced 6 turnovers in the first half.
Despite depth being a major talking point around the Red Storm basketball team, only Mikey Dixon and Bryan Trimble Jr. played in addition to the starting lineup in the game. Freshmen Greg Williams Jr., Marcellus Earlington and Josh Roberts did not see the floor.
The Red Storm went into half up only 30-26, mostly in part to poor shooting on behalf of St. John’s. St. John’s shot only 36% from the field, and only 7% from beyond the arc. If Figueroa’s 10 points off of 5/6 shooting is removed, St. John’s only shot just under 27% from the field.
Additionally, St. John’s perimeter defense left some to be desired. As the worst perimeter defensive team in Big East play last year (Big East opponents shot just under 40% from deep last year), St. John’s allowed Maryville to hit 6/14 in the first half.
After a slow start at the beginning of the second half, St. John’s went on a 12-0 run highlighted by a Figueroa put-back dunk and a Trimble 3 (a Trimble-trey? I’ll see myself out).
Despite the run, Maryville found their way back into the game going on a 6-0 run of their own and got with 2 points with just over 6 minutes remaining.
Shortly after Ponds picked up a technical foul reacting to a personal foul he had picked up, St. John’s went on a 12-0 run over to put the pesky Saints away for good with a final score of 71-57.
St. John’s hopes for a more decisive outing on Tuesday when the season starts officially against Loyola-Maryland at 6:30 PM at Carnesecca Arena.
St. John’s Red Storm
L.J. Figueroa: 15 Points (7/9 FG, 1/2 3PT), 7 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Turnover
Shamorie Ponds: 12 Points (6/16 FG, 0/5 3PT), 12 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 1 Turnovers
Marvin Clark II: 10 Points (4/9 FG, 1/3 3PT), 9 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Turnover
Casey Teson: 20 Points (6/14 FG, 5/8 3PT), 5 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Turnover
Jordan Gary: 8 Points (3/7 FG, 2/2 3PT), 2 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 3 Turnovers