This year’s Red Storm is now the first St. John’s team in 36 years and just the seventh in the 112-year history of the program to start a campaign with 10 or more consecutive wins.
The last time the feat was accomplished in 1982-83, sophomore Chris Mullin led the Johnnies to a school-record 14-straight wins to kick off the season before eventually winning the program’s first Big East title.
Since 1950, only three St. John’s teams have begun a season with at least 10-straight victories.
Despite the hot start, St. John’s can’t crack the Top 25 in the AP’s weekly college basketball poll. They are the only undefeated team that remains unranked.
“I’m not concerned about that, I’m really not,” head coach Chris Mullin said of the lack of national recognition. “We really have our own set of expectations and goals that doesn’t really entail getting recognized for anything, but trying to win the game that’s in front of us and keep on improving.”
Shamorie Ponds fell just one rebound shy of program’s first triple-double in 20 years, finishing the game with 16 points, 14 assists and nine boards in 36 minutes.
“I mean I was trying to get it, but also I wasn’t trying to get hurt,” Ponds said. “It was coming to the end of the game and the game was over.”
Ron Artest recorded St. John’s last triple-double on January 9, 1999, against Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden.
“We left him in a little extra and it didn’t work out,” said Mullin. “I kind of was disappointed, but sometimes that’s the way the ball bounces. He played a heck of a game.”
The junior’s 14 helpers shattered his previous career high of 10 and were the most by a St. John’s player since Omar Cook dished out 15 against Connecticut in 2001.
Only two St. John’s players in the history of the program have tallied more assists in a game than Ponds did on Sunday, as Cook registered efforts of 17 and 15 during the 2000-01 season while Mark Jackson holds the program’s Big East record with 16 against Providence on in 1986.
Ponds coughed up his first and only turnover of the game with 1:59 to play in the second half.
While Ponds’ quest for a triple-double captured the attention of Carnesecca Arena’s sellout crowd, LJ Figueroa quietly posted a game-high 19 points.
The former junior college All-American logged yet another efficient outing, making eight of his 13 attempts from the floor and sinking three of his six tries from long range.
Two other Johnnies finished in double figures, as Marvin Clark II registered 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including a 3-for-6 showing from downtown, while Mustapha Heron added 10 points.
Clark and Heron also pulled down seven points apiece.
St. John’s was scheduled to return to action on Wednesday, playing host to St. Francis Brooklyn at 6:30 p.m.