basketball Edit

Johnnies Come Up Short against ODU

Kassoum Yakwe (14) and Bashir Ahmed (1) lock down on defense against ODU
Kassoum Yakwe (14) and Bashir Ahmed (1) lock down on defense against ODU (SJU Athletics)

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (Nov. 25, 2016) – Trailing by as many as 16 with just over eight minutes to play in the game, the Red Storm (2-4) pulled within just three points of Old Dominion (3-2) in the closing minutes of the contest, but the Johnnies’ comeback effort fell short as the Monarchs escaped with a 63-55 victory.

“We played good defense, we really did,” said Head Coach Chris Mullin. “They run some really nice sets. They make you play into the shot clock, so I thought we did a good job. We just couldn’t get the ball. It was amazing. And then the frustration had a huge effect, I know people say it doesn’t, but it does. It really screwed our offense up for pretty much 33 minutes of the game.”

Marcus LoVett led the team in scoring once again and played a key role in the Red Storm’s late surge, netting 10 of his 16 points in the final 4:04 of the game.

Freshman guard Shamorie Ponds also finished in double figures for the Red Storm, tallying 10 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and three assists.

Bashir Ahmed added nine points and four boards for the Red Storm, who were outrebounded 54-34 overall on the evening.

The Red Storm’s defensive proved impenetrable in the early minutes of the game, as the Monarchs converted on just two of their first 14 shots. The Johnnies, however, also had trouble finding the bottom of the bucket and trailed 7-6 with just over seven minutes gone in the contest.

The teams traded leads over the next several minutes before Ponds scored five straight to put the Red Storm ahead by four, 16-12, with 7:33 left in the opening half. The first of Ponds’ buckets came on an absolute circus shot, as the freshman flipped it underhandedly toward the rim from 10 feet out with the shot clock winding down.

St. John’s built its lead to as many as five, 19-14, on an Ahmed three-ball with seven minutes to play in the opening stanza, but the Monarchs responded with nine unanswered to moved ahead by four, 23-19, with just under three minutes to play.

Trailing by four, 25-21, shortly thereafter, the Johnnies scored three in a row to cut the deficit to one, but ODU netted five unanswered to end the half, taking a 30-24 lead into the locker room.

After the two teams exchanged buckets to start the latter stanza, ODU opened up a 14-point lead, 44-30, with 12:17 to play following five unanswered points.

Down 16, 51-35, four minutes later, St. John’s unleashed a 12-2 run, trimming the deficit to just six points, 53-47, with 3:15 on the clock. Ponds led the way with five points on the tear.

Following a pair of ODU free throws that bumped the Monarch lead back to eight, LoVett scored five points in a matter of seconds, making a layup and sinking a triple to pull within three, 55-52, within 1:26 to go.

After ODU bumped its lead back to five with a pair of free throws, LoVett slashed to the hole and cut deficit to three once again, 57-54, with 46 seconds left in the contest. The Monarchs, however, converted on their free throws down the stretch and escaped Atlantis with a 63-55 victory over the Red Storm.

After two weeks on the road, the Johnnies will return home to the friendly confines of Carnesecca Arena for a Tuesday evening matchup with the Hornets of Delaware State. First tip is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET