Let’s just blame the overtime game against Georgetown for everything.
There is a crater in Shamorie Ponds’ Big East scoring output after the crushing double overtime loss to Georgetown — a game that was won until missed free throws by St. John’s and a foul on Marcus Derrickson, shooting a three, gave the Hoyas the points they needed to stay within striking distance.
In the following two games, Ponds shot 13% inside the arc, 14% from beyond the arc and scored a total of nine points in two losses (to Creighton at home and at Butler).
There have been other improvements in the team. The Red Storm scored under 1 point per possession against Georgetown, Creighton, Butler (and Xavier), but well over that level against Duke and Villanova — two of their best five offensive performances at 1.19 pts/ possession and 1.14 pts/ possession, respectively.
Shamorie’s return from single digits with a bang has been the propelling factor in both of those wins — and in a close loss at home to top-10 Xavier.
Shamorie Ponds: last five games have been two bad ones, three great
|vs Crei + at But||4.5||0.125||0.143||0.500||0.152|
|vs Xav + vs Duke + at Vill||30.0||0.535||0.450||0.850||0.579|
To be fair, the fortunes of the team are not all on Shamorie’s shooting percentages. Ponds has been solid in many games this season, and St. John’s was subpar on offense even with Ponds hot against Xavier — but he has the whole game cooking now, the squad is playing with fire and scrap and and the supporting players are shooting the ball well.
For reference, here is a look at Shamorie Ponds’ Big East games before/ during the second Georgetown game, that dip in scoring, and afterwards.
Shamorie Ponds scoring, counting stats, points per game since beginning of Big East play
|Big East Games 1-8||38.4||0.511||0.200||0.781||3.9||5.3||2.4||21.1|
|Big East Games 9-10||28.0||0.125||0.143||0.500||2.0||2.5||1.0||4.5|
|Big East Games 11-12 + Duke||40.0||0.535||0.450||0.850||5.7||4.3||4.0||30.0|
If Ponds can keep his three-point shooting in his 30-40% range for the rest of the season, be this efficient inside the arc in the half court sets, and continue to pass as well as he has, he will be a national star.
And if St. John’s can continue to slow down all offenses who enter while players add strong complementary offensive performances, we might be talking about an NIT run. Or more.