Ponds Setting Career High in Points, Not Enough for Johnnies vs. Mizzou

(Photo taken by St. John's University Athletics)

Orlando, FL--Putting up 31 total points for the sophomore from Brooklyn, Shamorie Ponds simply could not get it done by himself. He needed more of a supporting cast. Marcus LoVett and Bashir Ahmed did all they could, as the St. John's Red Storm (5-1) faced their toughest test of the season versus the Missouri Tigers (5-1) and could not come out on top in the Advocare Invitational.

The Red Storm got off to a wicked start from beyond the arc, as Michigan State transfer Marvin Clark II netted the first two attempts from downtown. The Tigers of Missouri cashed in on every defensive opportunity they had, where the Johnnies could not rebound in the offensive end of the zone. The Johnnies and the Tigers both had 16 points on second chance opportunities.

The Johnnies wiped off a 16 point deficit during the first half of the game, where the Red Storm proved to the critics, that yes, they are not invincible, and cannot come back from every deficit that they face. Hello Villanova in two months. Back to this one though, Shamorie Ponds committed only one turnover on the day, but tallied seven assists, and five boards on the day.

Senior forward Bashir Ahmed netted a whopping basket in the first half, and that came from the charity stripe. During the second half, "Bash" had a burst of energy, and burst onto the scene here in Orlando, as he went four for six from the field, and netted three shots from beyond the arc, and dished four free throws from the charity stripe to top off what was a solid game for Ahmed.

Right out of the locker room, the Johnnies kept the hot streak going, where as said earlier, wiped off a 16 point lead, well, they came out of the room to score only 14 points and go on a 14-2 run to move ahead by six points in the first five minutes of the second. Then, the Tigers' height came into affect and went on a 9-0 run down the stretch that put the game out of reach.

The Red Storm played exceptional offensively, but couldn't do certain things after a quick shuffle in the Mizzou defense. "I thought we got going in man-to-man, and they went zone to slow us down. We had some decent looks and got into some foul trouble though, so we couldn't get our ideal lineup in." Missouri finished the game with a red hot hand by scoring eight straight field goals, and netted two three pointers from distance, where they defeated the Johnnies 90-82.

The bench depth for Missouri was a factor in the win for the SEC squad, where the Tigers scored 32 points from non-starters during today's match. Tigers shot 51.9% from distance as well.

Head Coach Chris Mullin after the loss, "They have great shooters, but we knew that coming in. I thought for the most part, we had some good possessions on defense, but we have to take care of the inside-out game. We have to be able to contest shots."

The Johnnies now look to achieve third place in the Advocare Invitational, as they play UCF, who lost to West Virginia earlier today in Orlando. The 3rd place game will be aired on ESPNU at 12:00pm on Sunday, after an off-day for all teams.

Joseph Jarzynka