Friday night’s game was a wake up call for St. John’s as they came into tonight’s game against Tulane caught in the lurch of a five-game losing streak.
Whatever issues the Red Storm had prior to Friday (be it the loss to Delaware State on Monday or the troubles in paradise), they just seemed to melt away with the ease of the calendar flipping from November to December. St. John’s swept Tulane away by a score of 95-75 in a display of offensive movement and prolific shooting.
There was a bit of a wobble to start the game for St. John’s as their first possession saw the Red Storm committing a shot clock violation. It might have been early nerves as Chris Mullin’s side jolted into action in the form of an well-oiled, uptempo machine.
The guards for the Red Storm got to work right away as they carved into the Green Wave’s defense with a certain ease. One of the most notable features right away was the ball movement, especially in transition tonight for St. John’s. In all, the Red Storm compiled 22 assists with Marcus LoVett (five), Shamorie Ponds (four), Bashir Ahmed (four), and Malik Ellison (four) providing a wealth of nations on offensive movement. By the end of the first half alone they had 11 assists on 13 made baskets.
Assists were really just the tipping point though tonight for St. John’s as the focal point was the 3-ball reigning supreme. Oddly enough, it did not initially look like St. John’s was going to be rattling off threes like Fords off an assembly line. The Johnnies started the game with a mark of 1-for-2 from beyond the arc. Much like the reset after the shot clock violation, it just clicked into action later.
They then started to rattle off three after three with ease the rest of the night. By the end of the first half, St. John’s was leading by a score of 51-32, making it the highest scoring first half of the season so far. Up to that point, the Johnnies had been shooting 60.7% from the floor and 11-of-14 from 3-point range. It would only go up from there.
The record for 3-pointers made in a game for St. John’s is 16, and they would tie this mark on a triple by Amar Alibegovic, which, coincidentally, was also his first 3-pointer of this season. In all, the Red Storm would finish the night with a mark of 16-of-25 from three point range, good for a stellar percentage of 64.0 percent.
To put it simply, the Red Storm shot the lights out tonight against Tulane. The leading scorer for tonight was Marcus LoVett with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, which included a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point range. Backing up LoVett was a whole host of Red Storm contributors, as St. John’s got a lot of production from their guard quartet. Federico Mussini had 17 points tonight, his highest point total since opening night. Shamorie Ponds chipped in 15 points as well, and rounding things out, Bashir Ahmed had 17 points.
The frontcourt had a better night as well compared to the last few games. Tariq Owens led the way with six blocks and eight points while Yankuba Sima had himself a six-point night. Despite improved play, foul issues arose as Kassoum Yakwe had fouled out while Sima finished the night with four fouls.
The leading scorer for the Green Wave tonight was Ryan Smith who dropped 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 3-of-5 from the foul line. Behind Smith, Tulane’s secondary options were Malik Morgan and Melvin Frazier who scored 15 and 13 points, respectively.
With a bit more seasoning, this glimpse of composure could be a feature in games going forward for the Red Storm.