Tuesday, November 21, 2017

St. John's Stays Undefeated, Mauls Molloy

The student section at Carnesecca Arena. Photo by Jason Schott.

St. John's rolled past Molloy 71-43 on Monday night at Carnesecca Arena to improve to 4-0 on the season.

Shamorie Ponds and Bashir Ahmed had 14 points each to lead the Red Storm.

Ponds shot just 5-13, and 2-7 on threes, with six rebounds, an assist, a steal, and a block. Ahmed shot 5-11, with five rebounds and two steals.

Melvin Clark II had 10 points (4-7 FG, 0-3 threes), with four rebounds, an assist, and a steal.

Amar Alibegovic had his best game of the season, with nine points on 4-6 from the field, with a three-pointer, and five rebounds in 15 minutes of action.

In what has become a theme in this young season, St John's got off to a slow start, and found themselves trailing 16-11 with 9:16 left in the first half.

The Red Storm responded with a 13-2 run, and eventually had a 28-21 edge at halftime.

St. John's opened the second half on a 22-2 run capped by a Bashir Ahmed dunk at the 12:34 mark that gave them a commanding 50-23 lead.
From the 9:00 mark of the first half until the 9:00 point of the second half, Molloy scored only seven points in the equivalent of a half a game.

St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin said of their slow start in the opening ten minutes of the game, “I thought our energy was down. We were pretty reactive on defense and not the aggressor…counterpunching somewhat. With the type of team we are, we have to be the aggressor to set the tone and the pace. First and foremost, on the defensive end, but I thought we did a good job in the second half. You know you’re not always going to play the way you want all the time, but we addressed it and made changes. I thought we did a good job of that last game…we played a good defensive first half, but not very well offensively. Defensively at the start of the half we were a bit lackadaisical, but we pulled it together. So they know the difference, and that’s a good thing.”

Mullin said of sustaining the same energy throughout each game, “That’s why we try and create good habits. No one is going to deny that there are other factors that go into it, but as we move forward from here-on-out, we aren’t going to have that ability to just rely on our athleticism and our talent…we are going to have to play together. We know what we have to do, and we know the type of team we can be when we put it together. I’m not going to make too big of a deal about that, but overall we did what we’re supposed to do…they scored 21 and 22 points…Like I said, you are not always going to play well…but if you are honest with yourself, address your mistakes, and try to fix them in-game. Sometimes you have to wait, but if you can do it in-game…that’s even better.”

On whether a game like tonight keeps the team sharp, Mullin said,
“I’m not quite sure about the carryover, but that’s also why you practice. You don’t always carryover from practice, but that’s why you keep at it. Whether it be practice, game, shoot around, or film session you have to have the same mindset. We’ve had some bad practices and then had some good games…that can happen as well. We fly tomorrow, have a good workout, have another good workout on Wednesday, and go play Thursday.”

The Red Storm travel to Orlando to play in the AdvoCare Invitational and take on Oregon State Thursday afternoon at 2 pm.

Mullin said of finally playing outside of Carnesecca Arena this season, “Tomorrow we are going to practice in Orlando and then we have our first game on Thanksgiving morning. I’m not really looking too far ahead or anticipating what we are going to feel…I know what we are going to do at practice and prep, then it’s time to play.”

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