Coming into Tuesday night’s game, Marquette was riding an eight game win streak that helped move them up the rankings and keep pace with Villanova at the top of the Big East standings. Their last loss was on New Year’s Day on the road against St. John’s. It was a blowout with the Golden Eagles taking an 89-69 drubbing.
They would once again lose to St. John’s on Tuesday, but this time not in a rout but in a more harsh fashion by a scoreline of 70 to 69 that featured a spirited comeback that came so close, but in the end bookended their win streak with losses to St. John’s.
It was a great bounceback result for the Red Storm after their weekend loss to Duke. They came out with a much more direct gameplan that pressured the Golden Eagles into tough spots early on, as Marquette’s offensive options were having trouble finding the space to operate.
One other immediate takeaway for St. John’s was the nice rebound game for Shamorie Ponds after his weekend of dealing with the Blue Devils and Tre Jones. Ponds posted a 28 point game operating mostly within the paint, though his one three pointer was pretty important in giving St. John’s some breathing room. Most of his damage was also done in the second half with 19 of his 28 points coming after halftime. He also had a perfect 9-9 from the foul line.
Justin Simon was tremendous as well, and greatly made up for the few damp squib games that he had over the previous weeks. At one point, it looked as if he and Ponds were going shot for shot in the Red Storm’s scoring. For his efforts Simon tonight finished with 19 points on 8-11 shooting and was also perfect from the foul line in his limited trips going 3-3.
Rounding out the scoring options for St. John’s were Mustapha Heron and LJ Figueroa both having tidy games, with Heron posting a 10 point game and Figueroa having a nine point night.
On the Marquette side of things it was impressive that they managed to get back into the game, especially as Markus Howard had an off night with only 17 points on 5-17 shooting. He was particularly cold in the first half, and yet still scored the bulk of his point in the first twenty minutes. The focal point for the Golden Eagles was Sam Hauser who posted a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Most of his damage against St. John’s came in the second half as, Marquette was mounting a comeback. Hauser posted 12 points after halftime which included two big three pointers to drag Marquette ever closer to St. John’s. Sacar Anim also had a solid game with 11 points, and gave the Golden Eagles the lead in the final minute before Ponds got it back for St. John’s.
In terms of shooting, St. John’s shot the ball at a rate of 46% from the floor, 28% from three point range, and 81% from the foul line, wheres Marquette tonight shot the ball at a rate of 41% from the floor, 31% from three point range, and 68% from the foul line. Remember to make your free throws kids.
In the end it was a nice win for the Red Storm who move to 5-5 in Big East play and further solidify that third place spot in the conference. Marquette will look to get back on track this weekend against Villanova.