February 2018 | Page 18 of 23 | 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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Monday / July 6.
  • PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For the first time in 33 years, the St. John’s men’s basketball team has taken down the nation’s top-ranked team.

    Behind 26 points from Shamorie Ponds, the Red Storm held off Villanova at The Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night, topping the No. 1 Wildcats, 79-75.

    The win marked the first over a No. 1 team for St. John’s since Jan. 26, 1985, when Chris Mullin scored 20 points to lead the Johnnies past Georgetown, 66-65, in Landover, Md.

    After knocking off then-No. 4 Duke on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, the Red Storm (12-13, 1-11) has defeated top five teams in back-to-back games for the first time in program history.

    “I never walk into a game thinking that we have no chance,” said Mullin. “These are huge wins, but more importantly for the players, I think it’s a testament to their perseverance, unselfishness with each other, their confidence, and I’m just happy for them.”

    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    NEW YORK — In the moments after St. John’s dramatic 81-77 win over No. 4 Duke on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, Chris Mullin met in his Garden office for about 15 minutes with two of the top recruits in the Class of 2019.

    Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine of the Ranney (N.J.) School are both ranked in the Top 10 in their class by ESPN.com, and both were invited to compete with USA Basketball and the NCAA during the Final Four in San Antonio.

    The Red Storm are 0-11 in the Big East heading into Wednesday night’s game at No. 1 Villanova, but Mullin used the dramatic moment to emphasize to Lewis and Antoine that this is what the future could look like: a rocking, packed Madison Square Garden full of fans watching St. John’s play in — and win – games against big-time opponents.

    “They went right in within a minute of the game ending and just had some time with Chris and Mitch [Richmond] and Matt [Abdelmassih] and Dan [Matic] and celebrating together, just enjoying the moment. [Mullin’s] wife and son were there,”  Brian Klatsky, director of the Team Rio National AAU program who was part of the meeting, told ZAGSBLOG.