Shamorie Ponds' Double-Double Leads St. John's to Second Straight Win | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / February 24.
  • Shamorie Ponds’ Double-Double Leads St. John’s to Second Straight Win

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    By CHRIS BARCA

    NEW YORK –– St. John’s freshman Shamorie Ponds wasn’t about to let fellow guard Marcus LoVett hog all the attention.

    After LoVett went for 19 points and seven assists in last Friday’s season opener against Bethune-Cookman, it was Ponds who opened eyes on Monday. The Brooklyn product dropped 21 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds and four assists, leading St. John’s to a 77-61 win over Binghamton at Carnesecca Arena. The Johnnies are now 2-0 heading into Friday’s matchup at Minnesota in the Gavitt Tip-Off Games.

    “We bring the best out in each other,” said Ponds, the former Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson star. “We’re the smallest guys on the floor but we have the biggest heart and the biggest voice.”

    After a solid but uninspiring eight-point performance against Bethune-Cookman, Ponds came out of the gate firing on Monday, scoring seven of the Red Storm’s first 15 points through 10 minutes.

    He knocked down his first six shots of the game, finishing the first half with 13 points and six rebounds, both team highs.

    After Binghamton cut the Red Storm’s lead to just 41-37 out of the break, it was Ponds’ steal and one-handed slam in transition that brought the crowd to its feet and kick started a 20-2 run to put the game to bed.

    A pair of threes from the Thomas Jefferson High School alum in the final few minutes sealed his breakout performance, which ended in a rousing applause from the near-capacity Carnesecca Arena audience when he was subbed out.

    “I’m confident in myself and what I can do,” he said. “I just go out there and play my hardest every day.”
    Second-year head coach Chris Mullin said he’s been thoroughly impressed with Ponds’ growth over the course of his first semester on campus.

    “He individually is ahead of where I thought he would be,” Mullin said. “Especially IQ wise on the court, picking things up and figuring things out. You throw a whole new system at him, but he’s been really quick to pick it up.”

    While Ponds’ first career double-double will grab headlines, LoVett posted his second huge performance of the young season. The redshirt freshman went 9-of-16 from the field and 5-11 from three-point range, good for a game-high 23 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

    Last year’s partial qualifier said the chemistry between him and Ponds has been there from the very beginning, despite the two never having worked out or played together in the past.

    “We’ve always worked well with each other during practice. I always find him in certain situations just like he finds me in certain situations,” LoVett said. “He’s a lefty so any time you’re playing with a person who’s a lefty, you get excited.

    “He can bring up the ball just like I can. He can handle pressure just like I can,” he continued, when asked about sharing the role of primary ball handler. “As long as the ball gets taken care of, that’s all that matters.”

    Mullin echoed the comments of his two guards, saying it was evident early in offseason workouts that LoVett and Ponds would gel together.

    “They played real well together right away,” he said. “I think Shamorie is a better passer. He was a big scorer in high school but he’s got really good passing skills. He’s really unselfish.

    “Marcus has great speed and Shamorie has great instincts and he’s deceptively quick,” he continued. “When we get stops, either one of them can handle the ball.”

    After rolling with multiple big men on the floor early in the contest without much offensive success, the Johnnies turned to more of a small-ball approach, even going with a four-guard lineup that proved effective late in the first half.

    Forwards Bashir Ahmed and Tariq Owens ended up seeing just 21 and 18 relatively uneventful minutes, respectively, while centers Yankuba Sima and Kassoum Yakwe combined for just 10 points across 37 minutes.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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