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St. John’s Edges Mount St. Mary’s, 85-71, to Remain Unbeaten

St. John's basketball player about to dunk the ball
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The St. John's men's basketball team used a late 15-6 run to pull away from Mount St. Mary's, 85-71, and remain undefeated Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena.
 
St. John's (8-0) is off to the program's best start in nearly three decades, becoming the first Johnnies' squad to start a season with at least eight-straight wins since the 1990-91 team went a perfect 9-0 in non-conference play. Led by junior Malik Sealy, that team advanced to the Elite Eight as rose as high as no. 5 in the Associated Press Poll.
 
Five Johnnies finished in double figures for the first time this season, led by Marvin Clark II with 21 points. The redshirt senior used an 8-of-11 effort from the floor and a 4-for-6 showing from long distance to register his highest scoring effort of the campaign and the fourth 20-point game of his career.
 
Mustapha Heron netted 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting while Justin Simon chipped in 14 points seven assists. Shamorie Ponds also tallied a game-high seven helpers to go along with 11 points and a pair of steals.
 
LJ Figueroa registered his third double-double of the season, posting 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and pulling down 11 boards.  The 2018 NJCAA All-American also recorded two steals. 
 
As a team, St. John's shot a season-high 57.4 percent (31-of-54) from the field and made 13 of its 27 tries from beyond the arc. The Red Storm's 48.1 percent conversion rate from distance marked the team's second-best output of the season.
 
Mount St. Mary's (0-8) did not look like a winless team at the start of the contest, torching the Carnesecca Arena nets with makes on nine of its first 11 field goal attempts, including a 5-for-7 showing from three-point range. St. John's also got off to an efficient start from the floor, making seven of its first 10 tries, including a 6-for-7 effort from downtown.
 
After trailing by as many as five in the opening minutes, the Red Storm retook the lead for good, 29-28, on a Figueroa layup with 8:21 to go in the half.
 
The Johnnies led by as many as seven before entering the locker room with a 42-37 edge after 20 minutes of action.
 
The Red Storm quickly moved ahead by nine after Ponds scored the team's first five points of the half in the early going of the latter stanza.
 
The Mountaineers continued to put up a valiant effort in their seventh road game in just eight opportunities, cutting the Johnnies' lead to as little as one, 57-56, following a three-ball with 13:22 to go.
 
Leading by three, 64-61, with nine minutes to go, the Red Storm finally created some much-needed separation by making its next five field goal attempts.  The Johnnies opened up their first double-digit lead, 76-65, on the fifth bucket, a Heron triple with 4:55 remaining in the contest.
 
The Red Storm will make its first appearance of the season at "The World's Most Famous Arena" on Sunday afternoon, playing Princeton in the Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. on FS1 and 970 AM WNYM.  The Johnnies will be making their 52nd appearance since 1952 in the annual December tournament.

Story credit: RedStorm Sports

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