St. John's Cruises to 77-61 Win over New Orleans in Season Opener

Marcus LoVett

Nov. 10, 2017

Final Stats | Box Score (PDF)  |  Photo Gallery  | Quotes | Press Conference

QUEENS, N.Y. - The St. John's men's basketball team kicked off the 2017-18 campaign in stellar fashion on Friday night, as the Red Storm downed New Orleans, 77-61, in front of 4,921 fans at Carnesecca Arena.

Marcus LoVett led four Johnnies in double figures, tallying 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including a 5-for-10 showing from downtown. The redshirt sophomore also dished out three assists, surrendered no turnovers and tied a career high with four steals.

In 69 career games at Michigan State, Marvin Clark II reached the 15-point plateau twice. It took the redshirt junior just one game in red and white to match his career high, as the Kansas City, Mo., native tallied 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including a perfect 2-for-2 effort from beyond the arc. Eleven of Clark's 15 points came in the first half.

Shamorie Ponds filled up the stat sheet for the Johnnies in their season opener, registering 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Bashir Ahmed chipped in 10 points, while Justin Simon added nine points and four boards.

As a team, the Red Storm (1-0) turned 21 Privateer turnovers into 36 points and assisted on 17 of its 25 made field goals.

The Red Storm excelled on the offensive end in the early going, but struggled to pull away from the Privateers (0-1). The Johnnies moved ahead by as many as seven, 23-16, following three-straight triples from Ahmed, Ponds and Clark, but a 7-2 run from New Orleans pulled the Privateers back within a pair, 25-23, with just over six minutes to play in the opening stanza.

Leading by that same two-point margin, 30-28, three minutes later, the Johnnies closed the period on a 7-0 run, taking a 37-28 lead into the intermission.

The Red Storm continued its hot shooting hand on the other side of the break, extending its lead to 14, 47-33, following an 8-0 run just three and a half minutes into the frame.

New Orleans would narrow its deficit to 10, 54-44, near the midway mark of the second half, but the Red Storm responded with nine unanswered to take a commanding 19-point advantage with just under eight minutes to go in the contest.

The Privateers used a late 9-0 run to cut the Red Storm lead to 11 with less than three minutes to play, but the Johnnies pulled away down the stretch to clinch the 77-61 victory.

St. John's will return to action inside Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday night, welcoming the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut State for a 6:30 p.m. tilt on FS2.




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