St. John’s, a team that has never won at Creighton in seven tries, gets a resounding 83-67 win to break a two-game losing streak — and look more like a team that can be a contender for the top half of the Big East.
The Red Storm snap a two-game skid, and improve to to 16-5, 4-5 in the Big East, which, depending on this evening’s results, should be good enough for fourth place in the evenly-matched conference.
And next will be the nationally-televised out of conference in match Durham, North Carolina to take on Zion Williamson and the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday.
Creighton falls to 12-9, 3-5 in the Big East.
In the last matchup with Creighton, Shamorie Ponds was a game-time decision and put up 22 points on the way to a victory over Bluejays. If his 22 points last time was good, then Ponds’s 26 points tonight was great leading the Red Storm to a victory in Omaha.
In the first half, St. John’s looked poised for a poor outing. Justin Simon, it turned out, was limited with migraine symptoms and only played seven minutes.
Second, Creighton only turned the ball over 5 times in the first half, though St. John’s leads the Big East in steals.
Third, St. John’s failed to get to the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes. The Red Storm has averaged more than 19 free throw attempts stripe per game this season.
Creighton got several clean looks from deep. The Blue Jays ball-movement was setting up great looks as evidenced by 100% of Creighton’s made field goals (12 of 31) coming off assists (12).
Where St. John’s did dominate in the first half was on the boards. St. John’s grabbed 23 total rebounds in the first half while Creighton only accumulated 15, with neither team attacking the offensive glass aggressively.
But Creighton was only 6 of 19 from beyond the arc in the first half. St. John’s, meanwhile, went 8 of 19 and got major contributions from Greg Williams Jr. and Sedee Keita, including a 15-5 run to end the half on threes.
The seemingly new-look Johnnies went into the half up 44-34.
After some back and forth, the Red Storm used a 9-0 run to go up 17 early in the second half, and kept their feet on the proverbial gas.
In the second half, the Red Storm forced more turnovers (9), got to the line a little more (4 FT), and prevented the Bluejays from lighting it up from deep (3 of 15 3PT).
In addition to keeping Creighton’s perimeter offense at bay, St. John’s was able to be efficient from 3-point land themselves going 5 of 12 in the half.
LJ Figueroa had a big second half (9 points off 4/5 FG), helping St. John’s put the game out of reach towards the end of the second half.
With Simon sidelined, Bryan Trimble, Jr. took advantage of the opportunity off the bench, adding 11 points (4/6 FG, 3/5 3PT) and 4 rebounds for the Red Storm.
Coach Mullin brought in bench players Josh Roberts and Marcellus Earlington just before the buzzer sounded for the St. John’s victory.
St. John’s Red Storm
Shamorie Ponds: 26 points (10/17 FG, 4/8 3PT), 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 turnovers
Mustapha Heron: 17 points (7/12 FG, 1/4 3PT), 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 turnovers
LJ Figueroa: 15 points (7/11 FG, 1/5 3PT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers
Creighton Blue Jays
Ty-Shon Alexander: 15 points (6/15 FG, 3/10 3PT), 3 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 turnovers
Martin Krampelj: 14 points (5/8 FG, 1/2 3PT), 4 rebounds
Marcus Zegarowski: 13 points, (4/10 FG, 2/8 3PT), 6 assists, 3 steals