Thomas, making his first start of the season, scored 11 points and grabbed 6 rebounds help St. John’s defeated Marist 65-44 on Saturday in the opening around of the Aeropostale Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.
Thomas, who missed all of last season, called the start “a dream come true.” “It’s my backyard, really.”
The win was the seventh straight for the Red Storm (9-1), who are off to their best start since 1994-95.
Two teams traded baskets early, with the Red Foxes taking a 10-8 lead on a 3-pointer by DeJaun Goodwin with 14:34 left in the first half.
But from there Marist went ice cold from the field, missing seven of eight shots over the next five minutes as St. John’s built a 23-12 lead. Marist continued to miss shots, and the Red Storm took a 35-25 halftime lead.
“Teams go through slumps,” said Red Storm forward Shawn Evans, who had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. “We just gotta take advantage.”
The Red Storm put the game away early in the second half on a 16-1 run.
With the win, St. Johns advances to the Holiday Festival championship game and will play Virginia Tech Sunday at 2pm. The Hokies defeated Columbia University 64-52 in the early game.