Behind 29 points, five steals and two blocks from Zion Williamson, who many expect to be the first pick in the NBA draft later this year, Duke overwhelmed the Queens-based club in front of over 9,000 fans, improving to 19-2 while the Johnnies dropped to 16-6.
“I think it started a little bit towards the end of the first half,” said head coach Chris Mullin, whose team trailed 47-37 at halftime. “At one point we were within two points, and we had some live ball turnovers and runouts and dunks and a few offensive rebounds. Coming in our two biggest things were turnovers and rebounding.”
The Red Storm remained close in the first half despite no points from Shamorie Ponds, whose 11 points all came in the second stanza.
“We ran our stuff, got our looks, focused on the game plan and got them to turn it over,” said Marvin Clark II, who contributed 12 points and four rebounds. “If we can do it with Duke, we can do it with anybody. If we play the same way we did in those 17 minutes against Duke going into the rest of Big East play, we’ll be fine.”
Prior to losing to Duke, he Red Storm did manage to overtake the Creighton Blue Jays on the road, handling their Big East foe, 83-67.
St. John’s is 4-5 in Big East play, tying Georgetown and Creighton for third place. Seton Hall, DePaul and Butler all lurk behind with 4-6 records. Villanova and Marquette, who St. John’s will visit this week, sit on top of the standings.