Shamorie Ponds returned from a back injury and scored 22 points to lead host St. John’s to an 81-66 victory over Creighton on Wednesday night in New York City.
Ponds was listed as day-to-day with a lower back strain after sitting out Saturday’s 79-71 loss to DePaul when St. John’s scored its fewest points of the season.
The junior started out by missing his first four shots but finished 8 of 17 from the field and recorded his 10th 20-point game of the season and 38th career as St. John’s (15-3, 3-3 Big East) ended a six-game losing streak to Creighton.
Mustapha Heron added all 18 of his points in the second half when St. John’s shot 47.7 percent and outscored Creighton 42-3. LJ Figueroa contributed 16 and 13 rebounds for his fourth career double-double while Justin Simon chipped in 16, six rebounds and four steals as St. John’s shot 47.7 percent overall.
Marcus Zegarowski scored 17 points as Creighton (10-8, 1-4) shot 43.3 percent and lost its fourth straight game. Davion Mintz added 16 and Martin Krampelj contributed 14, but the Bluejays shot 37.5 percent after halftime and 43.3 percent overall.
Krampelj had a pair of dunks as the Bluejays used a 10-2 run to get a 23-15 lead with 7:49 remaining. St. John’s made seven straight shots and regained the lead at 33-31 on a reverse layup by Figueroa with about four minutes left and closed the half with a 15-3 run to get a 39-34 lead by halftime.
Creighton opened the second half with a 7-3 run and got within 42-41 on a corner 3-pointer by Mintz. About three minutes later, a 3-pointer by Simon gave St. John’s a 52-43 lead and with 6:56 left the Red Storm built a 64-53 advantage on a basket by Figueroa.
St. John’s held a 70-58 lead on two free throws by Simon with 3:37 remaining, but 13 seconds later Krampelj converted a four-point play after being fouled by Marvin Clark II. On its next two possessions, St. John’s opened a 74-62 lead on transition hoops by Heron and Ponds to seal it with about two minutes left.
—Field Level Media