Jan 8, 2019; Villanova, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats forward Eric Paschall (4) is double teamed by St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) and guard Mustapha Heron (14) during the first half at Finneran Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 8, 2019; Villanova, PA, USA; Villanova Wildcats forward Eric Paschall (4) is double teamed by St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) and guard Mustapha Heron (14) during the first half at Finneran Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

St. John's could easily be undefeated right now.

If it weren't for a highly controversial call at the end of the Seton Hall game and a blown lead in the final minutes at Villanova on Tuesday, the Red Storm would be 16-0 and 4-0 in the Big East.

Instead, the No. 24 Johnnies are 14-2 and 2-2 in the league, behind Villanova, Marquette and Seton Hall. They play three of their next four games at home -- beginning with Saturday against DePaul (9-5, 1-2) -- and need to take care of the home court in those games.

Given their non-conference resume was not especially impressive, the Johnnies will likely need to finish at least 9-9 in the Big East -- or win the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden in March outright -- to earn the school's first NCAA Tournament bid since 2015. And that is the ultimate goal.

Anything short of that will be a failure -- for the players, the students and even the growing bandwagon of casual fans in New York City. At this early stage, ESPN's Joe Lunardi has St. John's as a No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament in his most recent bracketology.

"They're definitely a Top 25 team in the country," said Villanova coach Jay Wright, whose team beat St. John's 76-71 on Tuesday. "They are explosive offensively."

Still, in order to get where they want to go, the Red Storm will have to learn how to close games more effectively.

After putting up 15 points in the first half when the Red Storm took a 39-34 lead on Villanova, Shamorie Ponds went cold in the second half, especially down the stretch when Villanova outscored St. John's 14-4 in the final 4:08.

"We played a lot of close games," head coach Chris Mullin said Thursday. "We did a good job in some. Obviously, in two we haven't. We'll try to do better. We're going to try to do better, promise."

One advantage St. John's have that other teams don't is Ponds.



The 6-foot-1 guard was named Wednesday to the Wooden Award Midseason Watch List, along with fellow Big East guards Myles Powell of Seton Hall and Markus Howard of Marquette, who set a Big East Conference scoring record with 53 points in Wednesday's overtime win against Creighton.

"Guys like that don't come around very often," Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said of the trio.

"I think our conference has arguably the best guards in the country," Wright said. Ponds is averaging 20.6 points, 6.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds. As he goes, so goes St. John's.

Other teams know he can be a ruthless closer, and St. John's will need him to close games going forward.

"Part of being able to close games out is having a closer," DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. "In baseball, it's that guy that comes in in the eighth or ninth inning and in basketball, it's having a guy that has the ball in his hands and makes great decisions and that's what Shamorie Ponds has been for them. He's an extremely trustworthy guy. He can make good and positive decisions almost every time and when it comes down to late-game situations, he becomes even better.

"He's as cool a customer on the collegiate level as you're going to find. If you give him space, he can make a shot. If you play up on him, he can go by you. If you put another body on him, he's going to make somebody else better. It becomes a very difficult guard overall. He knows how to use angles very well. He knows how to use his body, he does all the little things that a guy that is beyond his years mentally as well as physically can do so it creates a great challenge late-game."

Ponds, the lone home-grown star on this St. John's team, is surrounded now by veteran transfers recruited by assistant coach Matt Abdemassih, players like Marvin Clark II (Michigan State), Justin Simon (Arizona), Mustapha Heron (Auburn) and L.J. Figueroa (junior college). All four of them are averaging in double-figures.

"What makes Shamorie so effective is not just his talent but the shooters he has around him," Villanova's Wright said. "It's hard to stop him as it is but you leave those guys and he's finding people and they're hitting shots. They're as difficult to guard as anybody we've played.

"And they play with a confidence and a level of experience that's going to be valuable for them I think postseason."

Now Ponds and the Johnnies must work on closing games out to get where they want to go.


Follow @AdamZagoria on Twitter

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Mar 13, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin coaches in front of guard Shamorie Ponds (2) during the first half in the Big East conference tournament against the DePaul Blue Demons at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Mar 13, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin coaches in front of guard Shamorie Ponds (2) during the first half in the Big East conference tournament against the DePaul Blue Demons at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The NCAA Tournament is here and the New York/New Jersey area will be well represented. Here's a look at who each local team is playing and what their chances of making a run are:

Syracuse (No. 8 seed, West Region)

City/Tip time: Salt Lake City, 9:57 p.m.
Thursday TV: truTV

Tags: St. John's, Adam Zagoria
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Mar 16, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Seton Hall Pirates guard Myles Powell (13) drives to the basket against Villanova Wildcats guard Collin Gillespie (2) during the second half of the Big East conference tournament final at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 16, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Seton Hall Pirates guard Myles Powell (13) drives to the basket against Villanova Wildcats guard Collin Gillespie (2) during the second half of the Big East conference tournament final at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

As one of the country's hottest teams, Seton Hall played themselves into the tournament over the final weeks of the season that included a run to the final of the Big East Tournament. 

Their NCAA Tournament fate decided, the Pirates (20-13, 9-9 Big East) now have definite answers of their fourth straight tournament appearance. 

10-seed Seton Hall will head to Jacksonville in the Midwest Regional and play 7-seed Wofford in the first round Thursday.

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Johnnies react to NCAA bid 00:02:17
St. John's head coach Chris Mullin and the Red Storm players react to the news that they are headed to the NCAA tournament

They had to hold their breaths, but St. John's is in -- barely. 

The Johnnies secured a NCAA Tournament berth Sunday as an 11-seed, but will have to play in the "First Four" round Wednesday against Arizona State in Dayton, Ohio. The winner of that matchup will earn the right to play No. 6 Buffalo in Tulsa. 

St. John's (20-12, 8-10 Big East) is coming off a blowout loss against Marquette last Thursday in the Big East Tournament. Whether they'd done enough during conference play, coupled with a relatively weak non-conference schedule, put the Johnnies squarely on the bubble entering Selection Sunday.

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Mar 14, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm forward Sedee Keita (0) and guard Justin Simon (5) and guard Shamorie Ponds (2) and forward Marvin Clark II (13) react on the bench during the second half of a quarterfinal game of the Big East conference tournament against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Mar 14, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm forward Sedee Keita (0) and guard Justin Simon (5) and guard Shamorie Ponds (2) and forward Marvin Clark II (13) react on the bench during the second half of a quarterfinal game of the Big East conference tournament against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

After St, John's defeated then-No. 13 Villanova on Feb. 17, the only question regarding the Red Storm's NCAA Tournament future was what seed they would get. 

But after going 1-4 to close out the regular season with two losses to Xavier and one apiece to DePaul and Providence and then getting destroyed by Marquette in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals, the Johnnies are squarely on the tournament bubble heading into Selection Sunday and have to wait anxiously until early Sunday evening to see if they're going dancing.

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Kevin Willard proud of his team 00:00:53
Head coach Kevin Willard comments on Seton Hall's hard-fought loss to Villanova in the Big East final

NEW YORK (AP) - Villanova became the first team to win three consecutive Big East Tournaments, beating Seton Hall 74-72 on Saturday night behind seniors Eric Paschall and Phil Booth and key contributions from freshman Saddiq Bey.

Seton Hall star Myles Powell, guarded closely by Booth, missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds that could have won it. Booth was called for traveling as he tried to corral the rebound, however, and the Pirates got one more chance with 0.4 seconds left. Anthony Nelson's long inbounds pass bounced off the backboard and was slapped away by the Wildcats, who got to party on the Madison Square Garden floor yet again.

The 25th-ranked and top-seeded Wildcats (25-9) were in the Big East final for a fifth straight year, and have won four of the last five championships. The only loss during that span was to Seton Hall in 2016, and Powell and the third-seeded Pirates (20-13) gave Villanova all it could handle once again.

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Mar 15, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Seton Hall Pirates guard Myles Powell (13) celebrates with guard Quincy McKnight (0) during the second half in the Big East conference tournament against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Mar 15, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Seton Hall Pirates guard Myles Powell (13) celebrates with guard Quincy McKnight (0) during the second half in the Big East conference tournament against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

NEW YORK (AP) - Myles Powell sparked Seton Hall with 18 second-half points and Big East player of the year Markus Howard of Marquette came up short on a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Pirates a chippy and foul-filled 81-79 victory in the Big East Tournament semifinals Friday night.

The third-seeded Pirates (20-12) will face top-seed and defending champion Villanova in the final Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in a rematch of the 2016 title game won by Seton Hall. >> Read more

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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

NEW YORK (AP) Myles Powell scored 29 points in the first half to set a Big East Tournament record and finished with 31 to lead Seton Hall a 73-57 victory against Georgetown in the quarterfinals Thursday night.

The third-seeded Pirates (19-12) will face No. 2 seed Marquette in the second game of the semifinal doubleheader Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Seton Hall ended the regular season with consecutive victories against Marquette and Villanova and now seems safely in the NCAA Tournament field no matter what else happens this weekend in Manhattan. >> Read more

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St. John's crushed by Marquette 00:00:39
St. John's head coach Chris Mullin and guard Justin Simon speak after their crushing loss to Marquette in the Big East Tournament.

NEW YORK (AP) Markus Howard scored 12 of his 30 points in a game-breaking 23-2 second-half run, and No. 23 Marquette snapped its four-game losing streak with an 86-54 rout of St. John's in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night.

Fellow guard Sacar Anim added 13 points as the second-seeded Golden Eagles (24-8) beat seventh-seeded St. John's (21-12) for the first time in three tries this season. Sam Hauser had 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

"It was as complete a performance as we've had in some time," coach Steve Wojciechowski said.

The win advanced Marquette to its first Big East semifinal since 2010 against No. 3 seed Seton Hall or No. 6 seed Georgetown, who played in the late quarterfinal at Madison Square Garden. The Golden Eagles split with both teams. >> Read More

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Mar 13, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Justin Simon (5) reacts against DePaul Blue Demons forward Jaylen Butz (2) during the second half of a first round game of the Big East conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Mar 13, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Justin Simon (5) reacts against DePaul Blue Demons forward Jaylen Butz (2) during the second half of a first round game of the Big East conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

NEW YORK (AP) Shamorie Ponds scored 18 points, had seven assists and led a second-half surge as St. John's gave their NCAA hopes a boost with a much-needed 82-74 victory against DePaul in the first round of the Big East Tournament Wednesday night.

The seventh-seeded Red Storm (21-11) will face No. 2 seed Marquette in the third game of the quadruple header at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. St. John's avoided being swept three games by the 10th-seeded Blue Demons (15-15), burying DePaul in the second half.

Eli Cain led DePaul with 23 points before fouling out late.

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Hofstra advances in OT 00:00:42
Hofstra beat Delaware, 78-74, in OT in the CAA semifinal. Justin Wright-Foreman broke the CAA record with 42 points in a tournament game.

Justin Wright-Foreman broke the Colonial Athletic Association tournament record with 42 points to lead Hofstra to a 78-74 overtime victory over Delaware in the CAA semifinal.

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Mar 9, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Xavier Musketeers guard Paul Scruggs (1) goes to the basket during the first half against St. John's Red Storm forward Marvin Clark II (13) at the Cintas Center. Xavier won 81-68. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports  (Frank Victores)
Mar 9, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Xavier Musketeers guard Paul Scruggs (1) goes to the basket during the first half against St. John's Red Storm forward Marvin Clark II (13) at the Cintas Center. Xavier won 81-68. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports (Frank Victores)

CINCINNATI (AP) Stranded in the Big East basement last month after six losses in a row, defending champion Xavier is finishing with a flourish.

Paul Scruggs scored 22 points, Ryan Welage hit pivotal 3s down the stretch, and Xavier extended its late-season surge by beating St. John's 81-68 on Saturday, its ninth straight win over the Red Storm.

"We've got to end with a bang," Scruggs said. >> Read more

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The Hall upsets Nova 00:01:22
SHU head coach Kevin Willard, guard Myles Powell and Villanova coach Jay Wright discuss the Pirates' stunning win over the Wildcats, 79-75

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Seton Hall may have punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a pair of stunning upsets in the final week of the regular season in the Big East Conference.

Myles Powell scored 20 points, Myles Cale added 19 and Seton Hall upset No. 23 Villanova 79-75 Saturday, just three days after knocking off No. 16 Marquette to revive its chances of going to college basketball's biggest tournament.

"We just beat two ranked teams. We beat Kentucky. We beat Maryland," said Powell, who added seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in more than 36 minutes. "The list goes on. We can play with anybody in the country when we are playing our basketball."

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Seton Hall stuns Marquette 00:01:00
Seton Hall needed to beat Marquette for their tournament hopes to stay alive. They ended the game with an 18-0 run to stun Marquette.

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) As Quincy McKnight dribbled into the frontcourt in the waning seconds, a smile came across the face of the Seton Hall point guard and it wasn't long before his teammates starting jumping around and hugging each other as if they had won a tournament game.

The Hall didn't win anything other than a game against No. 16 Marquette on Wednesday, but the way the Pirates did it and what it meant was extraordinary.

Myles Powell scored 34 points and Seton Hall revived its NCAA Tournament hopes by scoring the final 18 points to beat the Golden Eagles 73-64 at the Prudential Center.

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Feb 12, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Mustapha Heron (14) reacts in the second half against the Butler Bulldogs at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Feb 12, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Mustapha Heron (14) reacts in the second half against the Butler Bulldogs at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

With Selection Sunday fast approaching, as many as half a dozen teams from New York State are in position to make the NCAA Tournament.

Here's a look at where each team stands now and what they need to do to make the Big Dance:

Syracuse

The skinny: Despite getting thrashed by Virginia 79-53 on Monday night, the Orange (19-11, 10-7 ACC) are safely into the Big Dance thanks to wins over then-No. 1 Duke in January and then-No. 18 Louisville in February. The Orange have a NET ranking of 39 and are currently a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com. Syracuse will be a top-7 seed in the ACC Tournament next week in Charlotte, N.C., and the Orange will get a first-round bye. They could help their NCAA Tournament seeding with a deep run in the ACCs.

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St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin (Eric Hartline)
St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin (Eric Hartline)

CHICAGO (AP) Max Strus had a career-high 43 points as DePaul topped St. John's 92-83 on Sunday.

Femi Olujobi had 23 points and 10 rebounds for DePaul (14-13, 6-10 Big East Conference), which snapped its four-game losing streak. Jaylen Butz added eight rebounds.

After falling behind 42-33 at the half, DePaul outscored St. John's 59-41 in the second half to earn the 9-point victory. The Blue Demons' 59 second-half points were a season best for the team.

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Nov 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin reacts against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the first half of the championship game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Nov 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin reacts against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the first half of the championship game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

JAMAICA, N.Y. (AP) Naji Marshall had a career-high 31 points as Xavier got past St. John's 84-73 on Thursday night.

Marshall hit 10 of 12 from the free throw line.

Quentin Goodin had 13 points for Xavier (16-13, 8-8 Big East Conference), which won its fifth consecutive game. Zach Hankins added 11 points and seven rebounds. Tyrique Jones had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the visitors.

LJ Figueroa had 23 points for the Red Storm (20-9, 8-8). Shamorie Ponds added 13 points and six assists. Marvin Clark II had 11 points. >> Read more

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Andy takes on Chris Christie 00:01:47
Former Gov. Chris Christie takes on SNY's Andy Martino in BNNY's Rapid Fire and boy was it a battle.

Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie certainly knows his U.S. presidents, but SNY's MLB Insider Andy Martino does as well as he proved when the two matched wits on Baseball Night in New York.

Watch Christie and Martino go toe-to-toe in Rapid Fire.

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Feb 23, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard LJ Figueroa (30) celebrates against the Seton Hall Pirates during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Feb 23, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard LJ Figueroa (30) celebrates against the Seton Hall Pirates during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

With their win over Villanova on Feb. 17, St. John's put themselves back in play for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. After a hiccup on the road against Providence on Feb. 20, the Johnnies dominated Seton Hall in a wire-to-wire victory on Saturday that almost certainly cemented their spot in the Tourney.

With three games remaining (vs. Xavier on Feb. 28, @ Depaul on Mar. 3, @ Xavier on Mar. 9), followed by the Big East Tournament, St. John's is now likely playing for seeding.

Here's where the Bracketology experts currently have them dancing...

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College athletes should get paid 00:00:59
SNY's Chris Williamson argues that college athletes should get paid and Zion Williamson's scare with an injury proves it.

Duke freshman phenom Zion Williamson is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. But his recent knee sprain has people wondering if he should shut down his college season to prepare for the next level.

And on the same note, it has people wondering if college athletes should be paid.

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Feb 23, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) drives to the basket on Seton Hall Pirates guard Quincy McKnight (0) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Feb 23, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) drives to the basket on Seton Hall Pirates guard Quincy McKnight (0) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

NEW YORK (AP) Shamorie Ponds had 27 points, five assists and five steals as St. John's beat Seton Hall 78-70 on Saturday night.

Marvin Clark II had 18 points for St. John's (20-8, 8-7 Big East). Justin Simon added 10 points. Sedee Keita had four blocks for the home team.

The Red Storm swatted a season-high 12 blocks. >> Read more

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Celebrating Muhammad Ali 00:00:47
In honor of Black History Month, SNY looks back at the ground-breaking accomplishments of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

In honor of Black History Month, SNY looks back at the ground-breaking accomplishments of boxing legend Muhammad Ali...
 

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Johnnies prep for the Hall 00:01:03
Shamorie Ponds, Marvin Clark II and Chris Mullin comment on St. John's crucial game against Seton Hall on Saturday at MSG

Coming off a rough loss at Providence, St. John's has a huge game Saturday night against Seton Hall in a matchup which will break a tie for third place in the Big East. 

Head coach Chris Mullin, Shamorie Ponds and Marvin Clark II preview the Red Storm's final regular-season home game at MSG.

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Feb 20, 2019; Providence, RI, USA; Providence College Friars guard Isaiah Jackson (44) dribbles up the court defended by St. John s Red Storm Shamorie Ponds (2) during the second half at Dunkin Donuts Center. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports (Paul Rutherford)
Feb 20, 2019; Providence, RI, USA; Providence College Friars guard Isaiah Jackson (44) dribbles up the court defended by St. John s Red Storm Shamorie Ponds (2) during the second half at Dunkin Donuts Center. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports (Paul Rutherford)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Nate Watson tied his career high with 21 points as Providence topped St. John's 78-59 on Wednesday night.

Alpha Diallo had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Providence (15-12, 5-9 Big East Conference). Isaiah Jackson added 11 points and nine rebounds. Maliek White had 11 points for the home team.

LJ Figueroa had 16 points for the Red Storm (19-8, 7-7). Justin Simon added 10 points. Marcellus Earlington had 10 points. >> Read more

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Johnnies stuns Villanova 00:01:17
St. John's overcame an early deficit, roaring back to beat Villanova, 71-65, bolstering their hopes of earning an NCAA tournament bid

LJ Figueroa scored 22 points and St. John's rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half to stun No. 13 Villanova 71-65 on Sunday night.

The Red Storm (19-7, 7-6 Big East) were down 48-34 with 12:30 left. St. John's scored 20 of the next 25 points to take its first lead on Figueroa's 3-pointer from the corner that brought the sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden to its feet. During that run, Villanova coach Jay Wright was hit with a technical foul for arguing a call.

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Chris Mullin joins SportsNite 00:00:51
St. John's head coach Chris Mullin joins SportsNite ahead of the Red Storm's game against Villanova and alludes to how to slow them down.

Inconsistent since the start of Big East play with a 6-6 conference record, St. John's has a huge game on Sunday when it hosts No. 13 Villanova at the Garden.

Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin joins SportsNite to discuss what his team needs to do to come away with a win against the Wildcats.

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Feb 12, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Mustapha Heron (14) reacts in the second half against the Butler Bulldogs at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Feb 12, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Mustapha Heron (14) reacts in the second half against the Butler Bulldogs at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

JAMAICA, N.Y. (AP) Mustapha Heron had a season-high 28 points as St. John's beat Butler 77-73 in overtime on Tuesday night.

Heron hit 10 of 12 foul shots.

Marvin Clark II had 18 points for St. John's (18-7, 6-6 Big East Conference). Shamorie Ponds added 14 points and seven rebounds. Justin Simon had seven rebounds for the hosts.

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St. John's effort falls short 00:00:57
Chris Mullin and Marvin Clark II comment on St. John's poor rebounding effort in their 70-56 loss to Providence

Alpha Diallo had 10 points and 15 rebounds to lead Providence to a 70-56 win over St. John's on Saturday.

Nate Watson had 18 points for Providence (14-10, 4-7 Big East Conference). Isaiah Jackson added 12 points and seven rebounds. David Duke had 11 points for the visitors.

Shamorie Ponds had 20 points for the Red Storm (17-7, 5-6). LJ Figueroa added 14 points. Marvin Clark II had eight rebounds.

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St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds dribbles against the Creighton Bluejays in the second half at CHI Health Center Omaha. (Steven Branscombe/USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds dribbles against the Creighton Bluejays in the second half at CHI Health Center Omaha. (Steven Branscombe/USA TODAY Sports)

If the NCAA tournament began today, St. John's would be a No. 9 seed in the Big Dance, according to the latest ESPN bracketology.

The Red Storm did themselves a big favor by knocking off No. 10 Marquette on the road on Tuesday, and now play five of their next six games at home. This stretch is pivotal for the Johnnies (17-6, 5-5 Big East), who can really help their NCAA tournament chances by taking care of their home court -- both at Madison Square Garden starting with Saturday's tilt against Providence and at Carnesecca Arena.

St. John's best opportunity for another signature win during the homestand comes on Feb. 17 when they host No. 14 Villanova, which is undefeated in the Big East (10-0) entering its tilt on Saturday at Marquette.

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NY deserves championship teams 00:01:32
The New England Patriots added another trophy to the Boston area trophy case and it's now time for New York to reclaim the best sports town.

With the New England Patriots collecting yet another Super Bowl ring, it was another reminder that Boston sports have been superior to New York sports. 

This one fact paints the picture perfectly: A 4-month-old baby who lives in Boston has experienced more parades than a 45-year-old Mets-Jets-Knicks fan living in the Big Apple.

Well, it's time for that to stop and SNY's Marc Malusis believes it can. He explains in his "State of the New York Sports Fan" speech...

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Feb 5, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) shoots during the second half against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
Feb 5, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) shoots during the second half against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

MILWAUKEE (AP) Shamorie Ponds scored 28 points, including a go-ahead layup with 16 seconds left, to give St. John's a 70-69 victory over No. 10 Marquette on Tuesday night.

The loss ended an eight-game winning streak for the Golden Eagles and was their first defeat at their new home this season after 14 victories.

Marquette, which trailed 49-34 early in the second half, took a 69-68 lead on a 3-pointer from the right corner by Sacar Amin with 32 seconds left

 

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Feb 2, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) shots over St. John's Red Storm forward Sedee Keita (0) during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports (Rob Kinnan)
Feb 2, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson (1) shots over St. John's Red Storm forward Sedee Keita (0) during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports (Rob Kinnan)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Freshman phenom Zion Williamson scored 29 points, Tre Jones flirted with a triple-double and No. 2 Duke routed St. John's 91-61 on Saturday.

RJ Barrett added 15 points and 14 rebounds while Jones had 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while also playing lockdown defense on Shamorie Ponds. The Blue Devils (19-2) shot 56 percent while winning their fifth straight.

Williamson stuffed the stat sheet in this one - hitting 13 of 17 shots while finishing with five steals, two blocks and a couple of his customary highlight-reel dunks. >> Read More

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Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson and forward R.J. Barrett react during the second half against the St. John's Red Storm at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson and forward R.J. Barrett react during the second half against the St. John's Red Storm at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)

As the Knicks and their fans fantasize about a potential future featuring some combination of Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Williamson says it would be pretty sweet to play with those players.

"I mean, it would be dope to play with KD and Kyrie, but like I said I'm enjoying college and whichever team drafts me I'm going to be ready to play hard and work," Williamson told me in the Duke locker room after going for 29 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 blocks as No. 2 Duke beat St. John's 91-61 on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Knicks (10-41) own the NBA's worst record and have full on "Stopped Tryin' for Zion." This week, they traded Kristaps Porzingis and nearly half their team to the Dallas Mavericks, and now have nearly $75 million in cap space to pursue two max free agents this summer, with Durant and Irving squarely in their sights.

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Jan 30, 2019; Omaha, NE, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Mustapha Heron (14) dunks the ball past Creighton Bluejays forward Christian Bishop (13) in the second half at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports (Steven Branscombe)
Jan 30, 2019; Omaha, NE, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Mustapha Heron (14) dunks the ball past Creighton Bluejays forward Christian Bishop (13) in the second half at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports (Steven Branscombe)

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Shamorie Ponds scored 26 points and St. John's had its best shooting game of the season while forcing Creighton into its worst shooting game, rolling to an 83-67 win on Wednesday night.

Mustapha Heron added 17 points and LJ Figueroa 15 for the Red Storm (16-5, 4-5 Big East Conference), who snapped a two-game skid. Ponds also had eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals.

Despite missing its last four shots, St. John's shot 65 percent (15 of 23) in the second half to finish the game at 57.9 (33 of 57). Its previous best was 57.4 percent. >> Read More

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Red Storm lose to Hoyas 00:01:40
Patrick Ewing and Georgetown avenged an early-season loss to St. John's with an 89-78 win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

NEW YORK -- The chances of St. John's getting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament may have died in a series of failed putbacks in the final minutes on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

With the Red Storm trailing Georgetown by two points with about 1:20 remaining, L.J. Figueroa made a steal at midcourt and the Garden crowd let out a tremendous roar because the home team had at chance to tie the game after trailing for much of the second half. Figueroa opted for a pull-up 3-pointer from the left arc that rimmed out, and St. John's then had one, two, three, four good looks at a putback that would've tied the game.

None of them went through the net, Georgetown big man Jessie Govan ended up with the ball and fed Mac McClung for an uncontested dunk on the other end.

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Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

NEW YORK (AP) Mac McClung scored 25 points, Jessie Govan added 20 with nine rebounds and Georgetown beat St. John's 89-78 on Sunday.

McClung was 9-of-19 shooting with four 3-pointers and slammed home a dunk in transition with 1:11 to go for an 81-77 lead after the Red Storm missed three shots on their possession. A block by Govan led to another easy transition basket by Josh LeBlanc for the Hoyas (13-7, 3-4 Big East) as they avenged a 97-94 overtime loss to St. John's in Washington on Jan. 5.

LeBlanc added 15 points for Georgetown, which had lost four of its previous five games.

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St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin reacts during the first half against the Georgetown Hoyas at Capital One Arena. (Scott Taetsch/USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin reacts during the first half against the Georgetown Hoyas at Capital One Arena. (Scott Taetsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Old friends and rivals Chris Mullin and Patrick Ewing with renew their rivalry on Sunday in a critical Big East game at Madison Square Garden.

St. John's (15-4, 3-4) and Georgetown (12-7, 2-4) are both under .500 in league play and need to win some games if they're going to make a push toward the NCAA tournament. Typically, Big East teams need to finish at least 9-9 in league play to make the Big Dance.

"I'm looking forward to playing my old buddy Chris one more time," Ewing, the former Georgetown and Knicks legend and current Georgetown coach, said Thursday.

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Hofstra tops JMU 85-68 00:01:02
Hofstra travelled to James Madison to secure their first conference road win. The Pride's defense led to offense in a strong effort.

Hofstra traveled to James Madison to secure their first conference road win, 86-68. The Pride's ever-changing defense led to offense in a strong effort.

"Anytime you win on the road, it's like gold," said head coach Joe Mihalich.

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Russo opens up about Francesa 00:01:10
While on The Climb podcast, Chris Russo opens up about the bad years he had doing the show with Mike Francesa and what ultimately saved it.

Legendary sports talk radio show host Chris "Mad Dog" Russo joined SNY's Jonas Schwartz on "The Climb" podcast, and he had loads to say about his former radio show co-host Mike Francesa

It is no secret Russo and Francesa had their fair share of qualms during their 19 years in the WFAN booth, and Mad Dog admitted that there "four or five really bad" fights in that span.

At the end of the day, though, both sides knew they needed to at least work it out on air.

"You have to admit, 'I need him, he needs me.' " Russo said. "We gotta figure out a way to make this work."

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The Climb is the podcast that tells the stories of big names in the New York sports scene, and how they got to the top of their industry. On the premiere episode, SNY's Jonas Schwartz sits down with sports talk radio legend Chris "Mad Dog" Russo. They chat about the very beginnings of Russo's broadcasting career, the origin of the "Mad Dog" nickname, the rise of the Mike and the Mad Dog show, his infamous battles with Mike Francesa, the details of how their show ended, and the challenges he faced when moving to Sirius XM and MLB Network.

SUBSCRIBE TO 'THE CLIMB' HERE

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A Star Rises at Hofstra 00:03:07
SNY's Chris Williamson heads to Hofstra to tell the story of Justin Wright-Foreman, who is having a historic season for the Pride.

SNY's Chris Williamson heads to Hofstra to tell the story of Justin Wright-Foreman, who is having a historic season for the Pride.

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Jan 19, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Butler Bulldogs guard Kamar Baldwin (3) defends against St. John's Red Storm guard Greg Williams (4) in the second half at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas J. Russo)
Jan 19, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Butler Bulldogs guard Kamar Baldwin (3) defends against St. John's Red Storm guard Greg Williams (4) in the second half at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas J. Russo)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Kamar Baldwin scored 30 points, Jordan Tucker added 24 and Butler held off St. John's for an 80-71 win on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (12-7, 3-3 Big East) had their largest lead after a 17-2 run made it 58-36 early in the second half, but the Red Storm (15-4, 3-4) scored 12 straight in one run and six straight in another to close within 73-69 with 50 seconds remaining. Butler made 7 of 8 free throws from there to secure the victory.

Baldwin was two points of career high and grabbed eight rebounds for Butler. Tucker was 6 of 11 from 3-point range. Sean McDermott scored seven points to go with his 12 rebounds.

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Jan 16, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) drives to the basket against Creighton Bluejays guard Ty-Shon Alexander (5) during the second half at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Jan 16, 2019; Queens, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) drives to the basket against Creighton Bluejays guard Ty-Shon Alexander (5) during the second half at Carnesecca Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

NEW YORK (AP) Shamorie Ponds had 22 points and five assists in his return from a back injury and St. John's broke away from Creighton for an 81-66 victory Wednesday night.

Mustapha Heron scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting for the Red Storm (15-3, 3-3 Big East), who lost their previous two games. That quickly knocked St. John's out of the AP Top 25 this week after the school's first appearance in four years.

LJ Figueroa had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Justin Simon added 16 points and four steals. >> Read More

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Mullin takes blame for struggles 00:00:45
Chris Mullin and Marvin Clark II try to stay positive after St. John's played without Shamorie Ponds and lost their second straight game.

NEW YORK (AP) Femi Olujobi had 27 points and eight rebounds in his New York homecoming and DePaul pulled away from No. 24 St. John's, beating the short-handed Red Storm 79-71 on Saturday night for its first win over a ranked team in almost three years.

Star guard Shamorie Ponds sat out with a lower back strain for St. John's (14-3, 2-3 Big East), which dropped its second straight game since moving into the AP Top 25 for the first time in four years.

Paul Reed added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Demons (10-5, 2-2), who snapped a 17-game skid against ranked opponents that dated to a victory over No. 11 Providence in February 2016. The last time the Blue Demons defeated a ranked foe on the road was a season earlier at No. 24 Seton Hall. >> Read More

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St. John's falls to Villanova 00:01:08
St. John's lost their second game of the season 76-71 to Villanova. Tarik Turner breaks it down.

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- When St. John's and Villanova met Tuesday night at Finneran Pavilion, one team was ranked and one team was not.

It was quite the reversal of roles.

St. John's entered as the No. 24 team in the nation while defending NCAA champion Villanova is unranked. But on this night, the Red Storm learned that the Big East still runs through the Wildcats.

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St John's continues to dominate 00:00:47
St John's had one of their first tests of the season beating Georgetown in D.C. for the first time since 2003. Villanova is up next.

WASHINGTON (AP) Shamorie Ponds made six 3-pointers and had 37 points and five assists as St. John's beat Georgetown 97-94 in overtime on Saturday to snap a 13-game losing streak against the Hoyas in the nation's capital.

The Johnnies had lost 13 straight games at Georgetown with its last win on January 18, 2003.

St. John's started overtime on a 7-1 run and Ponds made 1 of 2 free throws with 23 seconds left for a 97-94 lead.

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St. John's knocks off Marquette 00:00:51
St. John's coach Chris Mullin and guard Shamorie Ponds talk about the Red Storm taking down 16th-ranked Marquette on Tuesday night.

NEW YORK (AP) - Shamorie Ponds scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half, dominating a highly anticipated matchup between two of the nation's top guards, and St. John's rebounded impressively from its first loss of the season by routing No. 16 Marquette 89-69 on Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena.

Marvin Clark II had 22 points and Mustapha Heron added all 16 of his after halftime for the Red Storm (13-1, 1-1 Big East), who snapped Marquette's eight-game winning streak.

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Seton Hall Pirates guard Myles Powell dribbles as Butler Bulldogs guard Kamar Baldwin trails during the second half at Madison Square Garden. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
Seton Hall Pirates guard Myles Powell dribbles as Butler Bulldogs guard Kamar Baldwin trails during the second half at Madison Square Garden. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Senior Mike Nzei had his fourth career double-double and Shavar Reynolds hit a 3-pointer as time expired to help Seton Hall beat St. John's 76-74 on Saturday night in the Big East opener for both teams.

Nzei had 14 points and 10 rebounds - his first double-double of the season - and Reynolds finished with eight points. Myles Powell scored 15 points and Quincy McKnight and Sandro Mamukelashvili added 14 apiece for Seton Hall (10-3). The Pirates have won six in a row and nine of their last 10.

Seton Hall trailed by as many as 14 points and Mustapha Heron hit two free throws to give the Red Storm (12-1) a 69-59 lead with 6:35 to play. St. John's went scoreless for the next four-plus minutes and Mamukelashvili's 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run that made it 69-all with 3 1/2 minutes left. 

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Nov 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) reacts after scoring against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the second half of the championship game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Nov 20, 2018; Brooklyn, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) reacts after scoring against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the second half of the championship game of the Legends Classic at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

Shamorie Ponds and Myles Powell became good friends while playing against each other on the prestigious Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) circuit.

Ponds competed for the NY Lightning, while Powell played for the NJ Playaz.

Both guards then committed to New York-area schools within two weeks of each other in September 2015. The 6-foot-2 Powell, a Trenton, N.J. native ranked No. 81 by ESPN.com, chose Seton Hall over UConn, VCU, DePaul and Pittsburgh on Sept. 19...

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St. John's guard Justin Simon (5) reacts after his team defeated Villanova 79-75 in an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Philadelphia.(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson) (Laurence Kesterson/AP)
St. John's guard Justin Simon (5) reacts after his team defeated Villanova 79-75 in an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Philadelphia.(AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson) (Laurence Kesterson/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) - Marvin Clark II and Mustapha Heron scored 23 points apiece and Shamorie Ponds had 13 points and nine assists to help St. John's beat Sacred Heart 104-82 on Saturday night.

LJ Figueroa had 15 points and five assists and Justin Simon scored 10 for St. John's (12-0), which is off to its best start since opening the 1982-83 season with 14 consecutive wins.

Simon's dunk gave the Red Storm a 14-0 lead and Clark hit five 3-pointers in a span of three minutes, 33 seconds to make it 29-10 with 12: 57 left in the first half. Sacred Heart (4-8) scored the first seven second-half points to trim its deficit to 53-45 but St. John's answered with an 18-0 run - including two 3s apiece by Ponds and Heron - and cruised from there.

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