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St. John's

 (Rick Osentoski)
(Rick Osentoski)

St. John's was the 68th team selected in the NCAA Tournament's field of 68, and they looked the part Wednesday night as they never held a lead in a 74-65 loss to Arizona State in a First Four matchup of No. 11 seeds in the West Region. St. John's was eliminated and still hasn't won a Tournament game since 2000. >> Box score

Things to know about Wednesday's game...

1) This was the worst day for Mustapha Heron to have a nightmare of a game. The Auburn transfer had just six points after entering the game averaging 14.9 points per game for the season. Heron didn't score in the first half and finished 1-for-11 from the field with four turnovers. Early in the second half he went to the line for three free throws and missed all three attempts. Marvin Clark II did not score and finished 0-for-5 from the field after averaging 10.8 points per game during the season.

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Mar 14, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin coaches against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first half of a quarterfinal game of the Big East conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 14, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin coaches against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first half of a quarterfinal game of the Big East conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

St. John's is making its first NCAA appearance under Chris Mullin, the school legend who is in his fourth season as head coach, making steady improvement. St. John's last made the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and hasn't won a game in the tourney since 2000.

"It's a good step forward," Mullin said Sunday night.

"Historically, traditionally, this is where St. John's has always been. To get back to this point, I'm happy for my players first and foremost. ... Every year, we've gotten progressively better."

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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

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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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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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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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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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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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St. John's has?jumped into the?Thon Maker Sweepstakes.

St. John's assistant coach Barry "Slice" Rohrssen visited with the 7-foot Maker on Monday at Orangeville Prep in Ontario.

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Junior college star Bashir Ahmed?enjoyed his official visit to St. John's over the weekend and still has one more trip to Louisville planned.

"I had a great weekend," he told SNY.tv. "St. John's was great. I enjoyed going back home for the visit. The coaches were great. The team is like a family and I felt like I was a part of their family.

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Shamorie Ponds will announce on Tuesday.?(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Shamorie Ponds?will hold a press conference to announce his college choice on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. at Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson High School.

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Photo via Yahoo! Sports

Jordan Tucker?, a 6-foot-7 2017 wing from White Plains (N.Y.) Archbishop Stepinac, took an unofficial visit to St. John's on Friday?and enjoyed it.

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Junior college star Bashir Ahmed?is poised for his official visit to St. John's this weekend following a trip to Cincinnati last weekend.

His visit to St. John's will coincide with the school's?Dribble for the Cure event at 10 a.m. on Saturday as part of University Service Day on the St. John?s Queens campus.

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Rawle Alkins has cut his list to eight schools.

"Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, N.C. State, North Carolina, UNLV and St. John's," Alkins tweeted on Wednesday morning.

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Udoka Azubuike, a 6-foot-10 center from?Jacksonville (FL) Potter's House Christian, enjoyed his?official visit to Kansas?this past weekend and also had a home visit Tuesday with Florida coach Mike White.

Azubuike is the No. 3 center in the Class of 2016, according to 247Sports.com.

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St. John's coach Chris Mullin, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Villanova's?Jay Wright were among a slew of?coaches who on Friday?watched?Mohamed Bamba, a 6-foot-11 2017 star out of Westtown (Pa.) School and the PSA Cardinals AAU program.

Assistants from Kentucky, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Virginia, Stanford and Penn State were also on hand at Westtown, which has half a dozen Division 1 prospects.

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On the eve of his official visit to Kansas, Mitch Lightfoot had a home visit with St. John's coach Chris Mullin and assistant Greg St. Jean.

"It went well," Lightfoot, who Tweeted several pictures of the visit, told SNY.tv by text. "He's a great dude with a great basketball mind."

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Shamorie Ponds could be closing in on a college decision.?(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Shamorie Ponds?won't take his official visit to Minnesota this coming weekend and could make his decision soon.

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The North Carolina schools continued their courting of Brooklyn guard Rawle Alkins on Tuesday.

After the 6-foot-5 guard took an unofficial visit to North Carolina on Sunday, head coach Roy Williams and assistant C.B. McGrath spent Tuesday visiting Alkins at Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God. Rawle Tweeted this picture of him with the staff.

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After postponing his official visit to Rutgers this weekend, junior college star Bashir Ahmed?has?three more?official visits set and is uncertain if he will get to Rutgers.

"With Rutgers, they're still recruiting me right now but I just want to wait," Ahmed told SNY.tv Sunday by phone. "I like Rutgers and everything but I had a lot of schoolwork this week. I just wanted to wait until later on....I'm not visiting Rutgers right now."

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Shamorie Ponds could be closing in on a college decision.?(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Shamorie Ponds?enjoyed his official visit to Providence and is uncertain what his next move will be.

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On the eve of leaving for Raleigh, Rawle visited St. John's.

Rawle Alkins texted the St. John's staff on Wednesday that he was coming for an unofficial visit the day before he is set to leave for his new school, Word of God Academy in Raleigh (N.C.)

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Shamorie Ponds could be closing in on a college decision.?(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Shamorie Ponds?has four school visits slated for this week and it appears he will take his two remaining official visits before making a college decision.

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Isaiah Mucius, a 6-foot-8 2018 wing from St. James Prep (MD) and the PSA Cardinals AAU program, has picked up offers from St. John's and Wake Forest, program director?Terrance "Munch" Williams told SNY.tv.

"Isaiah has been putting in an extreme amount of work on his skill set for the last few years," Williams said. "He has been a young man who prides himself on development and utilizing the PSA Cardinals staff as much as possible.

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Junior college star Bashir Ahmed?has four official visits set.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound combo guard?from The Bronx?will trip to Rutgers (Sept. 12), Cincinnati (Sept. 19), St. John's (Sept. 26) and Louisville (late Sept.)

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Shamorie Ponds could be closing in on a college decision.?(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Shamorie Ponds?did not make a college decision Monday night and is still focusing on his original four schools: St. John's, Creighton, Minnesota and Providence.

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Shamorie Ponds could be closing in on a college decision.?(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Shamorie Ponds?will huddle with his family on Monday night following his official visit to St. John's and it's possible a decision could be forthcoming.

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Malik Monk?has cut his?college list?but has yet to announce it to the basketball world.

He is expected to do so next week on his brother Marcus Monk's radio program.

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St. John's and head coach Chris Mullin scored a huge commitment on Sunday when Kassoum Yakwe?signed with the?Red Storm and will enroll for the fall semester, choosing them over Oregon.

A source close to the situation says the school hopes the 6-foot-8 Yakwe out of Our Savior New American will enroll this week, but that his eligibility for the 2015-16 season is a "work in progress."

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NEW YORK -- Rawle Alkins knows all too well about about the narrative that New York City hoops is dead -- or dying.

You don't have to ask him twice to get him started on the topic.

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Kassoum Yakwe?is closing in on a college decision and expects to decide?in the next few days, a source close to Yakwe told SNY.tv.

"No decision yet on whether Kassoum will pick St. John's or Oregon," the source said.

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Following official visits to St. John's and Oregon, 2016 forward?Kassoum Yakwe?will decide between those two programs and won't take any more visits, a source close to Yakwe told SNY.tv.

"No more visits," the source said. "Both are great options. It depends if he wants to stay in New York or go to Eugene."

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On his recent official visit to St. John's, the school "did a good job of laying out their vision" to Kassoum Yakwe, a source close to Yakwe told SNY.tv.

The 6-foot-7, 205-pound 2016 power?forward from Our Savior New American visited the campus and Madison Square Garden, where the Johnnies play many of their home games.

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It may be the dog days of August, but St. John's continues to host some of New York's top recruits.

During the same week they are hosting Our Savior New American forward Kassoum Yakwe,?new coach Chris Mullin and his staff hosted 2017 Christ the King point guard Jose Alvarado.

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Mitch Lightfoot, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound 2016?forward from Gilbert (Ariz.) Christian High ?ranked No. 140 in Class of 2016 according to Rivals.com, has?set dates for his official visits.

A onetime New Mexico commit, Lightfoot?is now considering Kansas, Arizona, Stanford, Utah and?St. John's.

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Here's a few quick notes on former?and current St. John's players and a staff update:

**Former St. John's point guard Rysheed Jordan plans to play overseas or in the NBA D-League, he told COBL.com.

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Mitch Lightfoot, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound 2016?forward from Gilbert (Ariz.) Christian High ?ranked No. 140 in Class of 2016 according to Rivals.com, has cut his list to five schools, he Tweeted.

A onetime New Mexico commit, Lightfoot?is now considering Kansas, Arizona, Stanford, Utah and?St. John's.

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By CHRIS RUSSELL

NEW YORK ? In case you have been wondering how New York?s high school basketball talent would measure up against some of the nation?s best, Saturday night?s National Game at the Big Strick Classic provided an answer.

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German forward Richard Freudenberg is taking several visits in the coming days, according to?multiple reports.

The 6-foot-8 forward in the 2016 Class will visit Vanderbilt on Thursday (today), St. John's on Saturday and Boston College on Aug. 11, according to Scout.com. Sources confirmed the St. John's visit.

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Former St. John?s big man Chris Obekpa will transfer to UNLV, according to a post on his Instagram page.

The 6-foot-9 Obekpa will sit the upcoming season per NCAA rules and be eligible in 2016-17.

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Shamorie Ponds has officials set to St. John's and Minnesota following his Creighton trip.?(Photo by Kelly Kline/Under Armour)

Following his recent official visit to Creighton, Shamorie Ponds has three more official visits slated and could then make a decision.

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Kassoum Yakwe?will take an official visit to St. John's Aug. 13-15, a source told SNY.tv..

The 6-foot-7, 205-pound power?forward from Our Savior New American and the reigning Nike EYBL Defensive Player of the Year, Yakwe led the Peach Jam through pool play in both rebounds (11.8) and blocks (5.6).

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Rawle Alkins will headline tonight's game at Rucker Park. (Photos by Kelly Kline/Adidas)

BROOKVILLE, N.Y. -- Here are the rosters for the adidas Uprising Showcase at Rucker Park slated for tonight (Thursday) at 8:30 p.m.

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BROOKVILLE, N.Y. -- Mustapha Heron?plans to make a college commitment this fall and says it's "very realistic" that he and his NY Rens teammate Rawle Alkins will end up on the same campus.

"I think it's very realistic but like [Alkins]?said and when you talk to him, it's whatever's best for you," the 6-foot-5 Heron said at the adidas Uprising All-American Camp. "If that's the best fit for both of us then we'll do that but it's whatever's best for you."

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