On a chilly and rainy day in New York City, both St. John’s and the Bowling Green State Falcons decided to bring the heat. The Red Storm were challenged by the Falcon shooting, falling behind into the middle of the second half. But the Storm surged and came out on top, 84-80.
Sedee Keita got the start over LJ Figueroa against the Falcons likely due to Bowling Green’s size coming in. However, the appearance was short-lived for Keita, as he pulled up lame with a right knee injury 4 minutes into the game.
Bowling Green went into halftime up 39-37 in large part thanks to their efficient 3-point shooting. The Falcons were 7 of 13 from beyond the arc at the half with two of the Bowling Green guards, Dylan Frye and Justin Turner, going a combined 10 of 14 from deep.
Unlike Bowling Green, the Red Storm were forced into multiple tough shots off the dribble. The Red Storm shot just over 42% from the floor and 35% from deep off of 33 and 17 shots, respectively.
Despite St. John’s bench’s productivity against Loyola (MD), the bench had little to show going into halftime, collectively going 1 for 6 from the field.
Bowling Green came out hot in the second half, forcing St. John’s to go 9-0 to stay close while Ponds was on the bench dealing with knee pain.
Despite the injuries to the starting unit and poor production in the first half, the bench stepped up to keep the game within striking distance. After the 9-0 run, LJ forced a turnover, made a lay up while getting fouled, and made the free throw to get the lead with 9 minutes left.
After St. John’s regains the lead, Ponds went into one of those you-can’t-stop-me-you-can-only-hope-to-contain-me scoring zones, scoring 16 of his 21 points in the second half.
Despite the quality production of the Ponds, Heron, and the Red Storm bench, the Falcons continued to stick around by getting to the line and efficient 3-point shooting.
While shooting 40% from three in the second half, Bowling Green still found a way to take 23 of their 28 free throws in the second half, compared to St. John’s 24 total free throws.
Despite Bowling Green’s best efforts to stay within striking distance, as they were within 1 point with under 6 seconds remaining, Mustapha Heron made three crucial free throws down the stretch to put the Red Storm up by 4 for St. John’s to fly away with a 84-80 victory.
St. John’s Red Storm
Shamorie Ponds: 21 Points (8/15 FG, 3/4 3PT), 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Turnover
Mustapha Heron: 26 Points (8/16 FG, 2/7 3PT), 6 Rebounds
Marvin Clark II: 15 Points (5/13 FG, 3/8 3PT), 5 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 3 Turnovers
Dylan Frye: 18 Points (7/13 FG, 4/7 3PT), 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 6 Turnovers
Justin Turner: 24 Points (9/15 FG, 4/7 3PT), 4 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 3 Turnovers