There is an old adage that says the sequel is never as good as the original. In the case of St. John’s and Duke, the proverb holds true.
The last time the Red Storm took on Duke was almost exactly one year ago, when the Red Storm upset the Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden.
On this day, Duke ran St. John’s out of the gym beating the the Red Storm 91-61.
St. John’s falls to 16-6, while Duke improves to 19-2.
Next, the St. John’s returns to conference play traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to get another look at Markus Howard and the Marquette Golden Eagles on Tuesday.
In the first half, Coach Mullin started the Red Storm in a zone defense against the Blue Devils. Coming into the game, Duke had shot 31% from deep on the season. The Blue Devils hit their first three three-pointers, with time to set up.
That shooting forced St. John’s to pick its spots with man-to-man and zone.
For stretches early in the first half, St. John’s quality ball movement carried over from the Creighton game. St. John’s made 16 field goals in the half, and 9 of those field goals were assisted. LJ Figueroa shot 6/13 for 12 points, sharing the team lead in scoring with Mavin Clark II.
However, there were also isolation-heavy stretches leading to inefficient results. Justin Simon and Shamorie Ponds both failed to score, with Ponds going 0/5 in the half.
Duke’s future NBA lottery pick Zion Williamson had an effective first half scoring 19 points (8/10 FG, 1/2 3PT).
Between Duke’s better-than-usual shooting and St. John’s inefficient offense, the Red Storm went into the half down 47-37.
In the second half, Duke came out on a 19-2 run in the first 5 minutes and went up by 24, putting St. John’s to bed early.
Duke dominated in the second half without shooting well from deep converting only 2/13 of their three-point attempts in the half. But that shooting wasn’t needed, as live-ball turnovers and transition opportunities game Duke plenty of opportunities to maintain their lead.
The ball got stuck for St. John’s offensively in the second half, as the Red Storm had only 3 assists in the second half. Shamorie Ponds’ struggles continued, culminating in a missed fast break dunk with no opposition at the rim.
The Red Storm never recovered after Duke’s early run in the second half, and fell to the Blue Devils 91-61.
Forget the game; the team has a great opportunity against Marquette to right the season’s ship and be solidly on the road to the NCAA Tournament.
St. John’s Red Storm
LJ Figueroa: 14 points (7/18 FG, 0/7 3PT), 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers
Marvin Clark II: 12 points (4/10 FG, 3/9 3PT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover
Shamorie Ponds: 11 points (3/11 FG, 0/2 3PT), 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 turnovers
Zion Williamson: 29 points (13/17 FG, 1/3 3PT), 6 rebounds, 3 turnovers
Cam Reddish: 16 points (4/10 FG, 4/10 3PT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers
RJ Barrett: 15 points (6/15 FG, 0/5 3PT), 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers