A hot team playing a Division 2 school...at home...should be easy right?
The St. John's Red Storm only shot 33 percent in the first half and held a 28-21 lead at the halftime break. Nothing seemed to be falling for them, but were getting to the basket and getting open shots.
However, a 22-2 run to open up the second half extended the lead to 25 and eventually ran away with a 71-43 win over the Molloy Lions Monday night.
After taking a 2-0 lead on a Justin Simon steal and slam, the Red Storm did not retake the lead until the 6:30 mark in the first half on a Marvin Clark II layup. Shamorie Ponds, who has struggled to shoot the ball with any consistency this season, started 0-5 shooting before getting on the board with a layup at the 5:15 mark of the first half.
Ponds finished with 14 points on 5-13 shooting including 2-7 from 3 point land. Curtis Jenkins led all Molloy scorers with 14 points along with grabbing 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Justin Simon is a stat sheet stuffer
Coming off of back to back double-doubles against Central Connecticut and Nebraska, Simon flirted with a triple double in the win (7 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists). He has now recorded double digit rebounds in three of his first four games as a member of the Red Storm. If there are games that Simon is the prime option on offense, there is a strong possibility that we will see some triple-doubles from him throughout the season.
St. John's defense is good. Like, really good:
Yes, people will argue that it is the first four games of the season and the toughest team they have played is subpar Nebraska team. But, allowing an average of 54 points per game is pretty darn good along with average margin of victory of 23 points gives Red Storm fans hope. Through four games, St. John's also averages 9.5 steals, and 5.5 blocks per game. If they can keep those numbers (or close to those numbers) throughout the year, they can make noise in college basketball.
### Chris Mullin tried to give his guys rest:
In the final game before playing three games in four days, Mullin tried to filter in numerous guys to give more rest than usual. We saw Kassoum Yakwe, Bryan Trimble Jr., Amar Alibegovic, and Tariq Owens within the first six minutes of the game. However, it didn't help much that the game was close throughout the first half. Luckily for Mullin and company, the game got out of hand early in the second half, allowing him to filter in players all half. Decent rest along with two days before their next game, they should be well rested and ready to go.
St. John's now heads down to Orlando, Florida to play in the AdvoCare Invitational. Tournament play starts Thursday when the Red Storm takes on the Oregon State Beavers at 2 PM.