Nov. 20, 2017
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QUEENS, N.Y. - The St. John's men's basketball team secured its first 4-0 start of the Chris Mullin Era on Monday night, using a dominant second-half effort to pull away from Molloy, 71-43, at Carnesecca Arena.
With three games at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando awaiting the Johnnies later this week, the Red Storm kicked off the season with four-straight wins for the first time since 2014-15, when St. John's rattled off an 11-1 start in non-conference play en route to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Justin Simon came close to a triple-double, tallying seven points, nine assists and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes of action. The redshirt sophomore guard also recorded two steals and blocked a shot. After grabbing four boards in his St. John's debut, the Temecula, Calif., native has now registered double-digit rebounds in each of his last three appearances.
Shamorie Ponds and Bashir Ahmed paced the Red Storm with 14 points apiece. Ponds also added six rebounds, while Ahmed chipped in five.
The third Johnnie to reach double figures, Marvin Clark II scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Marcus LoVett tied a career-high with four steals in addition to netting eight points, while Amar Alibegovic made four of his six tries from the floor to finish with nine points. The senior forward also grabbed five boards.
The Red Storm struggled in the early going, falling behind by a score of 7-4 before a 7-0 run opened up a four-point lead for the Johnnies with eight minutes gone in the contest.
From there, the Lions rattled off a 9-0 tear, grabbing a five-point advantage, 16-11, with 9:16 remaining in the period.
Facing its largest deficit of the season, the Johnnies responded with an 8-0 run of their own, jumping ahead 19-16 before eventually extending its lead to seven, 28-21, at the intermission.
After a lackluster start to the contest, the Red Storm showed none of the same sluggishness after the break. The Johnnies opened the period on a 22-2 run, more than doubling up the Lions, 50-23, with 12:34 to go in the contest.
The Red Storm maintained a healthy lead over the remainder of the second half before downing the Lions by a final score of 71-43.
The Johnnies return to action on Thursday afternoon, taking on Oregon State in the opening contest of the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. on ESPNU and 970 AM WNYM.