Freshman duo leads St. John’s to quick 2-0 start
Nov 16, 2016 | 7764 views | 0 0 comments | 438 438 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Led by the dynamic freshman backcourt duo of Shamorie Ponds and Marcus LoVett, St. John’s pulled away from Binghamton in the second half on Monday night at Carnesecca Arena on their way to a 77-61 victory.

Ponds registered his first career double-double for the Red Storm (2-0), pouring in 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including a 4-for-6 showing from beyond the arc, and pulling down 10 rebounds. The freshman from Brooklyn also distributed four assists and recorded three steals.

LoVett tallied a game-high 23 points against Binghamton (1-1), making nine of his 16 tries from the floor and five of his 11 shots from three-point land. The rookie from Indiana also dished out four assists, grabbed four rebounds and registered a steal in 34 minutes of action.

“Marcus has great speed and Shamorie has great instincts and is deceptively quick,” said coach Chris Mullin on the pair. “When they beat their man they know whether to go finish at the basket or where the next guy is going to be.”

As a team, the Red Storm made 11 of its 26 attempts from downtown. Combined with their 11-of-22 showing from deep in the season-opener against Bethune-Cookman, the Johnnies have sank 11 or more three-pointers in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Yankuba Sima and Bashir Ahmed each finished with eight points and five rebounds for the Red Storm, while Tariq Owens added seven rebounds. Kassoum Yakwe, the Big East’s leading shot blocker last season, swatted five Binghamton shots and grabbed four rebounds.

The Red Storm return to action Saturday night, heading to Minneapolis for a 9 p.m. showdown with the Big Ten’s Minnesota.

Women kick off season with win

Traveling to Virginia to begin the 2016-17 season, the St. John’s women’s basketball team defeated host William & Mary, 73-57, on Sunday afternoon.

Senior Jade Walker led the Red Storm (1-0) offensively, scoring 18 points in 27 minutes on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor. The New Jersey native also went 1-for-1 from three-point range and was 3-for-5 from the free throw line.

As a team, the Johnnies shot 56.3 percent from the floor, including 50 percent (7-for-14) from deep.

Senior Aaliyah Lewis chipped in 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Junior Crystal Simmons amassed 10 points in 28 minutes off the bench.

“It’s always important to be able to get road wins, especially when you talk about opening the year on the road against a team that has a lot of experience and firepower with their senior group,” said coach Joe Tartamella. “I thought we had two really good spurts that opened the game up and allowed us to take control.”

In a tightly contested first quarter, the Johnnies held the Tribe to just 30 percent shooting from the floor, while the Red Storm made 57 percent of its shots in the opening 10 minutes.

Sophomore Jordan Agustus along with Walker, Lewis and junior Maya Singleton scored four points each as the Johnnies took an 18-12 lead into the first intermission.

The Johnnies pulled away midway through the third, outscoring the Tribe, 20-5, over the final five minutes. With less than a minute before the end of the period, Lewis hit a lay-up to extend the Johnnies lead to 20 at that point. Lewis and Walker combined for 14 of the 20 points during the run.

To close it out, the Johnnies held the Tribe to just 25 percent shooting in the final 10 minutes to come away with the win.

The Red Storm returns to action on Thursday when it hosts Duquesne in its home opener at 7 p.m.
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