Shamorie Ponds and the St. John’s Red Storm are riding high.
The Johnnies took care of a season sweep of the nationally ranked Marquette Golden Eagles earlier this week, snapping a Golden Eagle win streak that lasted since the Red Storm last defeated them on New Year’s Day. It was their second win in their last three games, with their loss to Zion Williamson and the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor sandwiched in between wins over MU and the Creighton Bluejays.
With a 17-6 record and a 5-5 mark in Big East play, St. John’s is building a case to go dancing for the first time since the 2014-15 season.If they want to strengthen that case, Saturday’s matchup with the Providence Friars is of utmost importance. The Johnnies will meet the Friars for the first time this season in the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden. This is just the second game at MSG for them this season, having opened up shop back on December 9 with a win against the Princeton Tigers.
You should obviously expect a heavy dosage of Shamorie Ponds. But look out for Justin Simon, as well. Simon scored 19 points and went 8-for-11 from the field in the aforementioned win over Marquette. He went for six boards, three assists, a block and a steal, to boot. We’ll see if he can piece some momentum together and gather up another quality showing against Providence on Saturday.
The Friars come into this game struggling to say the least. They’re 13-10 on the year, in the midst of a three-game losing streak and have posted a record of 3-7 in Big East play. It’s their worst 10-game start to Big East play in the reformatted conference and their worst start since, coincidentally, before realignment in the 2012-13 season. The high expectations for this Providence team were certainly not met, and it’s all about finishing strong at this point.
Alpha Diallo continues to be the primary source of offense, as expected, Lately he’s hit a little bit of a slump in efficiency but his point totals continue to be high. He’s hit 20+ points in three of his last four games, including 22 in a loss to the Georgetown Hoyas earlier this week. Look for him to remain the go-to guy for the Friars on Saturday afternoon in NYC.