For the first 30 minutes, it was a scene all too familiar in recent years for the Red Storm. Despite a scrappy defense forcing a total of 21 Beaver turnovers, the offense appeared disjointed at times.
However, down the stretch St. John's was able to get enough offense primarily from Marcus LoVett (18 pts) and Shamorie Ponds (a game high 26 pts).
Oregon State had a solid lead throughout most of the game, including a 61-51 advantage with 9:57 to play. The Beavers were led by brothers Stephen Thompson Jr. (22 pts) and Ethan Thompson (19 pts).
However, St. John's ended the game on a 31-16 run spurred by solid defense and clutch three point shots by Levitt, Marvin Clark II and Bashir Ahmed.
Throughout much of the game, Oregon State’s size posed a problem for St. John's. But the main issue defensively was the 11 3-pointers Oregon State made on 24 attempts.
Ponds’ 26 points came despite only shooting 5-17 from the field (including 1-5 from 3 point range). Ponds did make all 15 (!) free throw attempts including six in the final 1:12 of the game.
- St. John’s backcourt of LoVett, Ponds, and Simon can contribute mightly even on off shooting nights (the three combined for 11 of the team’s 14 steals, and also for 20 points over the last 8:50).
- Kassoum Yakwe had by far his most effective game of the early season with eight points (including 6-7 from the line), five rebounds, and an extremely timely block late in the game which thwarted one of Oregon St’s last real opportunities.
- St. John’s, being undersized and with an eight-man rotation, is going to have to stay out of foul trouble. Yakwe and Simon both finished the game with 4 fouls each. Ahmed fouled out with 5:02 to play.
What’s Up Next:
St. John's advances to meet the Missouri Tigers at 11 am on Friday, November 24th in the first semi-final of the AdvoCare Invitational.
Oregon State will play Long Beach State on the Consolation side of the bracket.