Red Storm dominate in exhibition win over American International

The Red Storm roll to an 84-52 victory in their second-to-last tuneup before the season begins


Shamorie Ponds led all scorers with 21 points and Justin Simon dished out a game-high seven assists in the Red Storm’s 84-52 victory over AIC on Wednesday night (Torch Photo/Nick Bello).

Brendan Myers, Staff Writer

Shamorie Ponds’ 21 points and  Marvin Clark II’s double-double fueled St. John’s to a comfortable 84-52 victory against Division II program American International College Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena.

St. John’s came out of the gates firing. They opened the game on a 10-0 run, ignited by three pointers by Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds, and never looked back. The team led by as many as 33 points as the second half waned.

“I thought offensively we shared the ball well,” Head Coach Chris Mullin said after the game.he Johnnies racked up 17 assists on 33 field goals made. Justin Simon led the team with seven assists but was limited to 27 minutes after getting into early foul trouble.

Mullin was also happy with what he saw with Simon running the break, which freed up Ponds and LoVett in transition.

Simon and Clark’s versatility was on full display Wednesday  night. Simon battled players both on the block and on the perimeter. Clark also showed he could battle down low after grabbing 14 rebounds. Clark also showed his offensive abilities, taking his defender from the arc and driving into the lane for easy layups.

Clark’s highlight play came in the first half, when he picked off a pass around midcourt and took it coast to coast for an emphatic slam. Clark noted after the game that the staff is trying to mold him into a similar kind of player as versatile Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.

“If you look at them physically, we didn’t have guys like that on the roster last year,” Mullin said of Simon and Clark. “Justin’s ability to play point guard at 6 foot 6 really frees up Shamorie and Marcus so they don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. And Marvin, his flexibility, his versatility, his strength, we can really change up our defense scheme.”

Marcus LoVett finished with 14 points in 29 minutes of action against AIC Wednesday night (Torch Photo/Nick Bello)

However, the offensive success should come as no surprise. The team’s defensive issues were the major question marks heading into 2017–18.

Albeit against a Division II side that lacked some size, St. John’s did force 21 turnovers. Freshman shooting guard Bryan Trimble led the way with three steals in only 21 minutes of action. In typical St. John’s fashion, the team also registered seven blocks. Tariq Owens, Simon, and Clark II all led the way with two blocks each.

St. John’s’ perimeter defense also looked good. The AIC guards struggled to get into any rhythm against Ponds and LoVett, shooting just 32 percent from the field and 21 percent from behind the arc.

The Red Storm also won the rebounding battle 41-35. However, AIC registered 14 offensive rebounds, a sore spot in an otherwise tidy final stat line for the Red Storm. It should be noted that St. John’s front court was down a man, as junior forward Kassoum Yakwe did not play. He was on the sideline, but there was no explanation given for him not playing.

St. John’s also struggled to stay out of foul trouble last night. Two players, Bashir Ahmed and Amar Alibegovic, fouled out with more than five minutes left to play in the game. Owens picked up four fouls and played 20 minutes, while Simon’s three whistles limited his action.

The Johnnies are back in action this Sunday against Rutgers in Piscataway in an exhibition to aid in hurricane relief efforts. The team opens up its regular season next Friday at Carnesecca Arena against New Orleans at 7 p.m.

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