Red Storm Comeback vs. Oregon State to Open Season 5-0
(Photo taken by St. John's University Athletics)
Orlando, FL--A deficit as large as 10 points in the second half, the Johnnies are no stranger to starting off a game poorly. Let's look at the Molloy game. That start was absolutely brutal. But, the Thanksgiving miracle worked in favor of the Red Storm (5-0) as they went on to defeat the Oregon State Beavers (2-2) late in the second half.
Chris Mullin's Red Storm at 5-0, are off to their best start since the 2009-10 season, when the Johnnies started off 6-0 during that season just seven years ago. "That's a game we never win last year. At some point in the game, there's a point where you can either separate or pull together, and they came together and got it done."
The offense wasn't there in the beginning though. Yet another slow start for the Shamorie Ponds led squad. "This season through five games, we haven't seen Shamorie find his rhythm offensively. He's had some tremendous stat lines, but the lack of offensive rhythm has really affected him. We did a good job as a team, however, to not let how the game was going to affect what we were trying to do. We just hung in there."
Well, the way that sounds, is that Mullin isn't too happy about the offensive consistency from Pond, can't be too mad about it tonight, as he netted 26 points in 31 minutes of play today. The counterpart in Marcus LoVett, put up 18 points of his own today, in 35 minutes of play. Shamorie Ponds spoke about the play of himself and his two counterparts (Simon and LoVett) "We feel like if the guards set the tone, then we are setting the tone for the entire game. I feel like if we come out there hungry and with a dog mentality, it changes the whole game"
And that is exactly what happened, as the trio of guards combined for 54 of the 82 points. Junior forward Kassoum Yakwe, who has been struggling in the previous four games, had his best game of his third season, and potentially of his career, by landing eight points in the net, along with five boards, and a block in 15 minutes of play.
Defense played a major factor in the victory as the Red Storm logged 14 steals in the game, and only surrendered six of their own turnovers. "We really rely on our training and pride ourselves on not rising up to the occasion. We train to play 40 minutes of pressure defense, be active, be energetic, and we feel that's going to wear down our opponents over the long haul."
With the Johnnies starting off the game slow and poorly, they finished the first half the same exact way, slow and poorly, as they allowed Oregon State to close the half on a 5-0 run.
Late in the second half, the Red Storm committed two steals against the Beavers, which led to a five point lead for the Johnnies, and then, something big happened. Michigan State transfer Marvin Clark II drained his second three-pointer of the game to put his team up by five at the perfect time. Oregon State began fouling and sent LoVett to the charity stripe, which extended the lead to seven, and effectively won them the game. That final foul against the Beavers on LoVett, put the Johnnies up 17-2 in a span of five minutes.
Marcus LoVett and Marvin Clark II, advance to the second round of the Advocare Invitational where they will take on the Missouri Tigers tomorrow at 11:00am on ESPNEWS.