The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Streaking Red Storm power past Fordham

On Dec. 2, 2015 the St. John’s Red Storm suffered one of their toughest losses of a very long and losing season. They looked overwhelmed, sluggish and were simply outplayed by their in-state rival, Fordham, in a 73-57 loss.

But that St. John’s team didn’t have Shamorie Ponds.

The super freshman poured in a career-high 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as he led the Red Storm (5-5) to an easy 90-62 win over Fordham on Dec. 8.

With starting point guard Marcus LoVett out for the second straight game with a sprained ankle, Ponds stepped up and filled his role on the offensive end. In his 10th career game, Ponds drained seven three-pointers and hit nine of his 13 shots in 34 minutes. He exited in the closing minutes to a roar from the crowd after his best game so far in a St. John’s uniform.

“His game is evolving. He’s really smart and has great instincts. It’s rare to be able to put a kid in different situations. I can play him all over the court and he knows what to do and how to make it work,” Head Coach Chris Mullin said on his stellar freshman.

Aside from Ponds, another member of the Red Storm backcourt who excelled during the victory was Federico Mussini. The sophomore guard drained four of his six three-point attempts on the way to 20 points in 22 minutes. He also pulled down five rebounds.

“We were so ready to play tonight,” Mussini said. “We knew what happened last year and we tried to make sure everyone on this team was ready to go out and play hard tonight.”

Six days after they tied a program record with 16 made three-pointers in a win over Tulane, the Red Storm were just one short of that mark against Fordham. Powered by Ponds and Mussini, St. John’s hit 15 shots from downtown on the night, capped off by a one from sophomore guard Elijah Holifield in the closing seconds that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

But what Mullin was most impressed with from his team postgame was the 24 assists on 32 made baskets. “[We had] 24 assists against a tough defense, so we did a good job there,” he said. The Red Storm did turn the ball over 16 times, however that was to be expected against a stingy Fordham defense that ranks third in the NCAA in steals.

Overall St. John’s controlled much of the game from the opening tip. They led by as many as 10 midway through the first half, taking a 32-22 lead with seven minutes left in the half.

Fordham cut that lead down to just one, 34-33, with 2:44 remaining in the first, however an 8-0 run extended the Red Storm lead back up to 42-33 at halftime. The run was capped off by a buzzer-beating layup and the foul from Mussini.

St. John’s opened up the second half on a 15-5 run through the first five minutes, and from there Fordham would get within 15 just once for the rest of the night. The Johnnies took their largest lead of 28 points in the closing seconds.

Bashir Ahmed added 11 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes, while Tariq Owens had a solid game as well with 10 points, four rebounds and four blocks in a season-high 31 minutes.

Following the win, the Red Storm have to feel good about themselves. They were not only able to avenge last season’s loss to Fordham, but they won their third straight to even their record at 5-5, and won their second straight game without LoVett on the court.

“We lost five in a row, but what we did after those games, is really more important than what we do after this game [in terms of] how you handle your losses, how you are accountable for each other and what you do to change it,” Mullin said. “It’s always more important how you handle adversity and get through it. That’s what makes your team grow.”

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About the Contributor
Troy Mauriello, Co-Sports Editor
Co-Sports Editor: Troy is a senior Journalism major who wants the sports section of the Torch to be the place that St. John's students go to on a weekly basis for the latest news on their favorite SJU sports teams. He also wants to grow our staff with even more outstanding writers who are passionate about both sports and St. John's University. He has been involved with the Torch since Spring 2014. [email protected]

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