With two games done and dusted, the St. John's Red Storm turned to their next pressing affairs while playing host to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. On what was a cold, windy night outside, Carnesecca Arena was loud and heated as the Johnnies walked away with a 79-56 win.
From the onset, there was an uptempo feel to this game. And boy did they deliver. They set themselves up with cuts to the basket that took the wind out of the sails for Nebraska.
With each and every move, there was a feeling from the crowd that the next basket by St. John's was going to better than the next. Even some of their misses were amazing to watch at times. One in particular that was mesmerizing to watch was a near two-pointer by Tariq Owens, who shot up and tried to wrangle in the ball in a near hand of god moment that would have riled the crowd up.
Though that didn’t go in, there were others to make up for it like Justin Simon’s trio of dunks that essentially killed off the game.
Among the other sights were the drives and glides to the basket by Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett in the first half. In the second half, Bashir Ahmed took the game by the scuff of the neck with some early big points. Also, in the second a tit-for-tat 3-point shooting fest by both Nebraska and St. John's, the Red Storm came out with the upper-hand. The Cornhuskers had to resort to trying to get points by posting quick shots.
It’s tough to point out who was the best on the floor tonight for St. John's. Nearly everyone had a moment or provided something to the game that helped them get the win.
The leading scorer on the floor tonight for the Red Storm was Shamorie Ponds who posted 22 points on 8-17 shooting. Ponds also had seven rebounds tonight. Alongside Ponds was Justin Simon, who posted a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Bashir Ahmed had 15, and to round out, Marcus LoVett with 14 points.
The only players who had issues with fouls tonight were Marvin Clark II and Tariq Owens. Clark fouled out, and Owens finished the night with four. In the second half the Red Storm bench also received a technical foul.
As a team, St. John’s shot the ball at a rate of 43 percent from the floor, 29 percent from 3-point range and 70 percent from the foul line. For the majority of this game, foul shooting was pretty dire. Then again, Nebraska shot at a clip of 75 percent, so neither side was in the mood for charity tonight. The Red Storm also outrebounded with 50 boards to Nebraska’s 39. They outdid them 15-10 in points off turnovers, while accounting for eight steals.
On the Cornhusker side of things tonight, their leading scorer was James Palmer Jr. Palmer put up 13 points and earned a fair share of crowd derision for his efforts. Joining him was Evan Taylor, who racked up nine and Isaiah Roby who had eight.
As a team, Nebraska shot the ball at a rate of 28 percent from the floor, 23 percent from 3-point range. They also had a technical foul of their own called on Palmer Jr.
Thursday night’s game was the first big test for St. John's who move to 3-0 on this vibrantly young season. From the early goings, it felt that the Johnnies had a lot of life in their play. That will hopefully continue to carry over. They’ll also have this crowd tonight that brought the noise, and in turn, the best of their home team. They too had a warmup before inviting Big East teams to this house in Queens.