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St. John’s escapes with 84-80 win over Bowling Green

That wasn’t supposed to be that difficult.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

26 points from Mustapha Heron helped to lead St. John’s over the Bowling Green Falcons. But it certainly wasn’t easy.

The Red Storm did their best to give this one away down the stretch, as they allowed for the Falcons to get as close as one point in the final moments. But clutch free throw shooting and a few miscues for Bowling Green ultimately led to an 84-80 win for St. John’s to move to 2-0 on the season.

St. John’s committed only eight turnovers and pounced on Bowling Green’s 20 turnovers, scoring 26 off them. But that wasn’t why they crept back into it. Bowling Green made a litany of free throws in the final minutes of the game. Nine of them to be exact, along with a few tip-ins, a jumper and a layup. In fact, Bowling Green outshot them on the whole in every category. Field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage were all areas won by the Falcons and lost by the Red Storm.

To make matters worse, it wasn’t even as though Bowling Green’s best player got it going. Demajeo Wiggins, a Preseason All-MAC First Teamer, did finish with 12 points and had 12 rebounds but was relatively inefficient from the field. He was 1-for-4 from the field. While he did get 14 free throw attempts and made 10 of them, it was his teammates who truly dominated. Especially Justin Turner, who scored 24 points and shot 4-for-7 from outside. His teammate, Dylan Frye, matched that effort from deep, going 4-for-7 too. Antwon Lillard got into double figures too, putting up 13 points. It was a nightmarish type night for the St. John’s defense, and they were certainly lucky to escape with a tally etched in the win column.

Mustapha Heron, as we mentioned, had a game-high 26 points. He wasn’t the only Red Storm player to cross the 20-point threshold. Shamorie Ponds, the Preseason Big East Player of the Year, had 21 points, his second 20-point outing of the young season. Marvin Clark II added 15 points of his own while LJ Figueroa put up 11.

Justin Simon didn’t get to double figures, as he had just nine, but he added six assists to his line and also fouled out. Foul trouble was an issue for St. John’s as they had 20 personal fouls, but Bowling Green meanwhile had 23. So, it could’ve been significantly worse.

As we’ve discussed, this was a bit of a nightmarish game for St. John’s. But they were able to escape with a win. Wins are wins of course, but for their sake, this is less of a sign of things to come and a mere setback. The competition will only get better from here.