St. John’s came into a full Carnesecca Arena and took care of business against Marquette’s dynamic back-court. Marquette kept the game close on the back of guard Andrew Rowsey, but a Shamorie Ponds-led Red Storm was able to win 86-78.
St. John’s improves to .500 on the season, 13-13 in all games and 2-11 in Big East play. Shamorie Ponds’ 44 points was the 4th most in St. John’s history — a Carnesecca Arena record, and a career high by Ponds.
A sloppy start saw the Red Storm working to operate their offense from the perimeter rather than getting in the lane. But the Johnnies saw the light, with four “paint touches” in a row after the 12:00 time out.
Shamorie Ponds started cooking late in the first half, and the Johnnies went into the half up two points, despite Marquette shooting twice as many free throws than the Johnnies, while the Red Storm missed nine of their 11 three-point attempts.
The second half was filled with Shamorie Ponds — who had already scored 17 in the first half.
The half opened with Tariq Owens taking an open three, then getting a layup from a Justin Simon pass. But the Golden Eagles’ ability to make threes means no lead is safe... unless Shamorie Ponds is on the case. There were drives on the taller Sacar Anim. There were shots against Markus Howard. And then there was this Dance of the Three Points against Sam Hauser.
It was filthy, and it was enough to keep the Marquette scoring machine at bay.
Justin Simon kept pace for much of the half, helping to make Andrew Rowsey uncomfortable enough from time to time to hold him at 34 points. Bashir Ahmed did his part on both ends, most notably when he intercepted a lazy cross-court pass, scored and drew the foul.
It was a high-powered second half — and the Red Storm did just enough to win in front of an excited Carnesecca crowd.
St. John’s Red Storm:
Shamorie Ponds 44 Points (16-23 FG, 4-7 3PT), 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists
Justin Simon 16 Points (4-8 FG), 11 Rebounds, 6 Assists
Andrew Rowsey 34 Points (11-26 FG, 6-15 3PT), 6 Rebounds, 6 Assists
Markus Howard 18 Points (6-19 FG, 2-8 3PT), 6 Rebounds, 2 Assists
Next for St. John’s is a rematch for DePaul, in Chicago on Wednesday night.