|St. John's Head Coach Chris Mullin. @StJohnsBBall.|
St. John's lost a tough one, 82-68, to Creighton in front of 17,006 fans at CenturyLink Center Omaha on Tuesday night.
Shamorie Ponds led the way for the Red Storm in the losing effort, tallying 16 points and registering a career-high six assists. The freshman from Brooklyn also dished out three assists and surrendered no turnovers in 35 minutes of action.
Federico Mussini and Malik Ellison finished with nine points apiece. Ellison pulled down six rebounds, while Mussini grabbed five.
As a team, the Red Storm struggled from beyond the arc, making just six of its 25 attempts on the evening.
St. John’s fell behind early, as Creighton scored the game’s opening 11 points over the first four and a half minutes of the contest.
The Red Storm responded with a 13-5 run to cut the deficit to three over the next five minutes and eventually trimmed the Bluejays advantage to a pair, 18-16, with nine minutes remaining in the half.
Creighton, however, unleashed a 10-0 run before the end of the half to build its lead to as many as 14.
After trailing by 13, 43-30, at the half, St. John’s pulled within five, 58-53, with 9:36 to play following a personal 8-0 run from Ellison. That was as close as the Johnnies would get, however, as Creighton built its lead to as many as 17 down the stretch.
The Red Storm will close out the regular season on Saturday afternoon, hosting Providence at 12 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin said of the game, “In general, I thought the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half killed us. First half in general we just were soft. We maybe gambled too much, gave [Justin Patton] too many free runs to the baskets. In the second half we played pretty solid defensively but we put them on the line. They shot 16-of-19 from the free throw line. We did a good job with everything else but we put ourselves in foul trouble. To win here you have to play 40 minutes. We didn’t do that. We cut it to six a few times but made some silly plays, took some bad shots."
Mullin said of whether he felt the momentum turning in their favor, “We dug holes, got close, but I never really felt like we put any pressure on them.”
On falling in an early hole, Mullin said, “The early leads usually go away. That’s almost tough on the other team because you know it’s going to swing back. You don’t want it to happen, but you’re not going to get shut out. If you get off to a great start and play bad in the middle and in the end, you’re going to lose anyway.”
Mullin said of his team’s demeanor, “We have a young team so we get defeated quick. If a shot doesn’t go in or a guy feels someone missed him. I thought tonight was about as much about our body language, our energy as much as anything else.”