Men's Basketball

St. John's Pulls Away from Sacred Heart, 90-55

Dec. 2, 2017

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QUEENS, N.Y. - Leading by just two at the half, the St. John's men's basketball team outscored Sacred Heart by 33 in the latter stanza, defeating the Pioneers, 90-55, at Carnesecca Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Shamorie Ponds eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the fifth time this season and the third time in his last four games. The sophomore from Brooklyn tallied 22 points in addition to dishing out seven assists, grabbing four boards and recording four steals for St. John's (7-1).

Tariq Owens registered his first double-double of the season, the third of his career, with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Most of his production came in the second half, as he tallied all 12 of his points and six of his 11 boards in the latter stanza. The BIG EAST's blocks leader also swatted four shots on the afternoon.

Transfers Marvin Clark II and Justin Simon finished with 14 points apiece in the winning effort. Clark also tied a career-high with seven rebounds while Simon added six assists and three steals for the Johnnies.

Bashir Ahmed put forth his most efficient effort of the season, going 5-for-7 from the field and finishing with 13 points. The senior also made two of his four tries from beyond the arc.

The Red Storm had five players finish in double figures for the first time since Dec. 20, 2015, against NJIT.

One of the nation's top team in terms of turnovers forced, the Red Storm tallied a season-high in that category, as the Pioneers (3-5) surrendered 25 possessions on the game. The Johnnies converted those miscues into 34 points.

As a team, the Red Storm turned in its best effort of the season from the floor, making 54.8 percent of its chances (34-of-62). In the second half, the Johnnies shot a blistering 69.0 percent from the field, going 20-of-29, including a 5-of-9 showing from downtown.

After Sacred Heart scored the game's first five points, St. John's ripped of a 7-1 spurt to take its first lead of the game, 7-6, with four minutes gone.

Trailing 16-14 following a few minutes of back-and-forth action, the Red Storm unleashed a 10-0 run to take its first sizable lead, 24-16, with just under seven minutes to go in the first half.

Sacred Heart went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 32 with two and a half minutes remaining until the break, but the Red Storm responded and took a two-point lead, 36-34, into the intermission following a layup from Clark.

Up 38-36 early in the latter stanza, the Red Storm quickly began to pull away from the Pioneers, firing off a 13-0 run to move ahead by 15, 51-36, with just over five minutes gone in the period. Clark paced the Johnnies with six points during the tear.

Shortly thereafter, the Red Storm put the game out of reach with a commanding 18-0 run, climbing ahead by 31, 71-40, just inside the midway mark of the half.

The Johnnies would lead by as many as 42 before the final whistle blew.

St. John's returns to action on Tuesday, traveling to Phoenix for the Valley of the Sun shootout against Grand Canyon University. That game will tip off at 11:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.


Prior to the start of Saturday's contest inside Carnesecca Arena, St. John's unveiled a statue of legendary head coach Joe Lapchick outside of Taffner Fieldhouse, the practice home of the Johnnies.

The towering monument will serve as a lasting testament to the on-court success and steadfast character of the man who laid the foundation for St. John's success throughout the 20th century. In addition to four NIT titles at the helm of the Johnnies, Lapchick was also a fervent activist for racial equality in a time when espousing such views brought about vocal protest and even death threats.

"His tombstone in Yonkers simply says Lapchick," remarked his son, Dr. Richard Lapchick, at the ceremony. "That's who he was, but it could easily have said he didn't have to be Jewish to want to fight against anti-Semitism, he didn't have to be a person of color to want to fight against racism, he didn't have to be a woman to want to fight against sexism, he didn't have to be poor to want to fight against poverty. He learned early on in his life that we were all part of the same human fabric and human family. That was my dad. That was Joe Lapchick."

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