“When you take a starter and one of your best players out of the lineup, it affects rotation, your starting lineup and guy’s roles,” he said. “So I thought from that standpoint, a bunch of guys did a good job stepping up and taking a little more responsibility than they have the previous eight games.”
Ponds connected on 10 of his 18 shots from the floor while also dishing out a game-high five assists.
Three other Johnnies finished in double figures, led by Bashir Ahmed with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Eight of Ahmed’s 12 points came from the free-throw line, including a number of key makes down the stretch.
Federico Mussini made four first-half triples to finish with 12 points, while Malik Ellison added 10 points, five assists and four boards.
“[Ponds] played really well and picked up the slack,” Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus said. “He’s a tough guard because he can get to the rim but also shoots really deep. He seemed poised. Five assists and only one turnover is poised. I can appreciate the effort he put in with Marcus LoVett not playing tonight. You lose by six on the road, against a Big East team, but for us and for our growth it’s a good game for us.
“I enjoyed watching the way St. John’s played tonight. I’ve known Chris [Mullin] for a long time and Mitch [Richmond] for a long time. It’s kind of nice to see what those guys are doing. For a while, I was one of the only guys that was coaching in college that played that long in the NBA. I know the battle that they are going through right now, with a young team trying to figure things out. I think the future is really bright here. I know those two guys know basketball and they have really good people around them.”