Shamorie Ponds’ tear through Big East play continued on Saturday in a big, big way. The star of the St. John’s Red Storm dropped 44 points in their 86-78 victory over the visiting Marquette Golden Eagles.
The 44 points surpasses the previous career-high of 37 points he set earlier this season against the Villanova Wildcats back on January 13. In addition, Ponds also set a Carnesecca Arena record for most points scored in the venue, per the St. John’s Twitter account.
Both teams’ offenses showed out in this one. The teams shot a combined 20-50 from the 3-point line, but it was the Red Storm’s effort from the field that bested the Golden Eagles’. St. John’s shot a hearty 60.0 percent on 50 field goal attempts, while Marquette was good for just 40.6 percent on 69 of them.
And it’s not as if the stars didn’t show out for Marquette, either. Andrew Rowsey, Markus Howard and Sam Hauser combined for 70 of Marquette’s 78 points. But, perhaps therein lies the problem. They got eight points from the remaining five players thats aw the floor. Four of them came from Sacar Anim, while the other four were dispersed to Matt Heldt (2) and Greg Elliott (2). Harry Froling and Jamal Cain, who each totaled 11 and 15 minutes respectively, finished the game scoreless.
The same could not be said for St. John’s. Of the six players who saw the floor, all of them scored at least eight points. Bashir Ahmed, Tariq Owens and Marvin Clark II had eight, nine and nine respectively. While Ponds had the spotlight with 44, let’s not overlook Justin Simon, either.
Simon scored 16 points on eight shots, went 8-14 from the free throw line and was helpful in other areas too. He had another double-double, his sixth of the season and second consecutive after posting 16 and 10 in Wednesday’s defeat of Villanova. This time, he had 16 points and 11 boards. He also finished with six assists, two blocks and two steals.
After losing 11 games in a row, St. John’s has now reeled off three straight victories. Two of which, of course, were against No. 1 Villanova and the high-powered Duke Blue Devils. They’ve also now won two Big East games in a row, and don’t look now, but if they somehow pick off the DePaul Blue Demons and Marquette again on Wednesday, February 21, they’ll suddenly be out of the cellar in the Big East assuming everything holds. Are the Red Storm someone you want to face right now? Well, if Shamorie Ponds is gonna stay as hot as he is, maybe not.
Marquette, meanwhile, continues to mire. Their play has obviously slipped, with them losing five of their last six contests after being 4-3 on January 15. The good news is that their remaining schedule, with two exceptions, plays into their hand. They have to play the Creighton Bluejays twice. But, they also play St. John’s, DePaul and the Georgetown Hoyas. Those three teams are at the bottom of the Big East right now. If the Golden Eagles can win those three plus force a split with Creighton, then a 9-9 Big East record can put them in a good spot entering the Big East Tournament. Even an 8-10 record would be fine, but they cannot afford a slip-up after that.