basketball Edit

St. John’s Falls to Rutgers in Charity Exhibition

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Nov. 5, 2017) – With the game tied at 78 in the closing seconds, Issa Thiam tipped in a rebound to give Rutgers to an 80-78 victory over St. John’s in the final exhibition tune-up before the Red Storm’s season opener on Friday.

The contest was played in support of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, as the two teams agreed to donate all proceeds from the game to help those affected by the recent string of natural disasters around the world.

Four Johnnies finished in double figures on the afternoon, led by Shamorie Ponds. The sophomore from Brooklyn was sensational for the Red Storm, tallying 25 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals while surrendering just one turnover in 34 minutes of action.

Backcourt partner Marcus LoVett scored 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added five rebounds, while Justin Simon finished with 13 points, seven boards and two steals.

Bashir Ahmed also reached double figures for St. John’s, chipping in 11 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals.

Leading by five at the half, the Red Storm saw Rutgers drain 17 of its 25 field goal tries in the second stanza (68 percent).

The two squads went back and forth over the opening minutes of the contest, as Simon knotted the game at eight with a fastbreak slam and 13:31 to go in the half.

St. John’s and Rutgers continued to trade baskets over the next few minutes before a LoVett jumper sparked a run for the Johnnies. Trailing by three, 19-16, before the redshirt sophomore’s bucket, the Red Storm scored 15 of the game’s next 18 points, moving ahead by eight, 31-22, on a Simon and-one with 3:11 to play in the first half. LoVett paced the Johnnies with five points on the 15-3 run.

Trailing by five, 35-30, at the intermission, Rutgers narrowed its deficit to one with four-straight points to start the second half. St. John’s, however, quickly responded with a 9-2 run of its own to make it 46-38 with less than four and a half minutes gone in the period.

St. John’s built its lead to as many as 11 near the midway mark of the second half, as Ponds converted on a layup before finding Bryan Trimble Jr. for a corner three on consecutive possessions to make it 63-52 with 10:27 to play.

Facing its largest deficit of the game, the Scarlet Knights answered with a 19-6 run, taking the lead on a Corey Sanders 3-pointer with 4:38 to play.

After seeing Rutgers build its advantage to as many as five with 2:32 to go, LoVett and Ponds rattled off the game’s next six points, putting the Johnnies back ahead by one, 78-77, with 1:15 to go in the game.

On the ensuing offensive possession for Rutgers, Deshawn Freeman, who finished the contest with 28 points and 12 boards, went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe to knot the contest at 78.

St. John’s took the ball down the court and found an open look at a triple from Ahmed, but the shot rimmed out and Rutgers took control. With a shot clock-game clock differential of just about one second, the Scarlet Knights held for what was essentially the final play of regulation. Sanders drove to his right and put up a floater that missed, but Thiam was waiting on the weak side to tip it home and give Rutgers the win.