With Marcus LoVett sidelined due to injury, backcourt mate Shamorie Ponds rose to the occasion and tallied a career-high 25 points for the Red Storm (4-5), connecting on 10 of his 18 shots from the floor while also dishing out a game-high five assists.
“He played really well and picked up the slack,” said Cal State head coach Reggie Theus. “He’s a tough guard because he can get to the rim, but also shoots really deep. He seemed poised. Five assists and only one turnover is poised.”
Three other Johnnies finished in double figures, led by Bashir Ahmed with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Eight of Ahmed’s 12 points came from the free-throw line, including a number of key makes down the stretch.
“It changed a lot,” said head coach Chris Mullin of LoVett’s absence. “I thought a bunch of guys did a good job stepping up and taking a little more responsibility than they have the previous eight games.”
Federico Mussini made four first-half triples to finish with 12 points, while Malik Ellison added 10 points, five assists and four boards.
Redshirt sophomore forward Tariq Owens contributed significantly to the Red Storm’s winning effort once again, scoring five points, grabbing seven rebounds and registering a game-high four blocks.
As a team, the Red Storm sank 10 or more three pointers for the sixth time this season, hitting 10 of its 21 tries from beyond the arc. The Matadors (3-6), on the other hand, made just two of their 14 attempts from downtown.
St. John’s returns to action in Carnesecca Arena on Thursday night, hosting Fordham at 6:30 p.m.
Defense comes up big for women
For the second-straight game, the St. John’s women’s basketball team held its opponent to under 30 percent shooting from the floor, as the Red Storm (4-3) defeated Lafayette, 64-46, at Carnesecca Arena on Saturday afternoon.
“To be able to hold them to 15 points in the first half is great,” head coach Joe Tartamella said. “The third quarter was a quicker pace, but I thought that gave us a little energy.”
Senior Jade Walker scored a team-high 13 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists and a pair of blocks in 25 minutes of play. Andrayah Adams matched her season-high with a 10-point showing and hit 2-of-6 from behind the arc.
Imani Littleton and Aaliyah Lewis both chipped in eight points. Lewis also dished out four assists, while Littleton recorded four rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Akina Wellere led the Johnnies with seven rebounds and scored seven points in 32 minutes. The sophomore also had three assists and two steals.
Just two days after limiting Albany to just 28.0 percent shooting from the floor, St. John’s held Lafayette (1-8) to just 27.8 percent shooting from the field.
The Johnnies converted on 39.0 percent (23-59) of their tries and hit 12-of-17 from the free throw line.
St. John’s wraps up its three-game home stand on Wednesday when it hosts Rutgers at Carnesecca Arena. The first tip is slated for 7 p.m.