Nov. 24, 2017
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ORLANDO, Fla. - Despite erasing a 16-point deficit midway through the game, the Red Storm proved unable to overcome a late Missouri surge, as the Tigers converted on 10 of 11 shots down the stretch to escape with a 90-82 victory in the semifinals of The Advocare Invitational.
Shamorie Ponds scored a career-high 31 points, making 13 of his 27 shots from the field. The sophomore from Brooklyn also tallied seven assists and five rebounds while surrendering just one turnover on the contest.
Bashir Ahmed netted 15 of his 17 points in the latter stanza, going 4-for-8 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Marcus LoVett also finished in double figures, netting 14 points.
Justin Simon filled up the stat sheet once again for the Johnnies, tallying nine points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
As team, Missouri made 14 of its 27 tries from three-point range, including a 9-for-14 effort in the second half.
The Red Storm got off to a hot start from three, as Ponds and Marvin Clark II sank the team's first two tries from distance. The Tigers, however, dominated the offensive glass early on, turning six offensive rebounds into six second-chance points in the game's opening five minutes.
Trailing 14-13 following a pair of LoVett free throws with 12:29 to go in the half, the Johnnies saw the Tigers unleash a 15-2 run to move ahead 29-15 with 9:13 remaining until the intermission. Kevin Puryear and Jordan Barnett combined for 12 of the team's points during the tear.
Down by as many as 16 with just over six minutes to go in the opening stanza, the Johnnies unloaded a 13-3 run to pull within just six, 40-34, with less than a minute to go. Ponds scored eight of the team's points on the streak, including a three-ball from just a few feet inside center court as the shot clock expired to cap the run. LoVett chipped in the other five points for St. John's.
Missouri added another bucket before the break, but so did Ponds, as the Johnnies entered the locker room with just a six-point deficit, 42-36.
The Red Storm maintained its momentum after the intermission, opening the latter stanza on a 14-2 run to move ahead by six, 50-44, with less than five minutes gone in the period. Ahmed led the run with five points, while Ponds chipped in four, Simon added a three-ball and Tariq Owens threw down a rim-rocking alley-oop to cap the run.
Missouri cut the St. John's lead down to two, 52-50, on a Barnett slam, but Ahmed wasted no time responding to the Tigers run. The senior from the Bronx knocked down triples on back-to-back possessions, bumping the Johnnies lead to eight, 58-50, with 12:20 to play.
The Tigers answered with a 9-0 run, sinking three 3-pointers to reclaim the lead, 59-58, just over two minutes later.
With Missouri leading by three, 65-62, St. John's rattled off five unanswered to move ahead by two, 67-65, on a LoVett triple with 7:04 remaining in the second half.
With the Johnnies leading 69-66 just over a minute later, the Tigers converted on back-to-back threes, jumping ahead 72-69, with 5:12 to go. Missouri continued its hot shooting touch, making its eighth-straight field goal and extending its lead to 77-71 at the game's final media timeout.
St. John's battled down the stretch, but the Tigers continued to convert on their chances from the floor to keep the Red Storm at bay.
The Johnnies will play in the third-place game of The Advocare Invitational on Sunday, taking on either No. 23 West Virginia or UCF. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 p.m.