March 14, 2019 / 4:13 AM / a month ago

St. John's rolls over DePaul in Big East tourney opener

Junior guard Shamorie Ponds recorded 18 points and seven assists to help St. John’s post an 82-74 victory over DePaul in the first round of the Big East tournament on Wednesday night in New York.

Mar 13, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Shamorie Ponds (2) drives against DePaul Blue Demons guard Devin Gage (3) during the first half of a first round game of the Big East conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Junior guard Mustapha Heron added 18 points and seven rebounds and junior guard Justin Simon had 18 points and six rebounds as the seventh-seeded Red Storm (21-11) advance to face second-seeded Marquette in Thursday’s quarterfinals. St. John’s won both regular-season meetings.

Sophomore forward LJ Figueroa scored 14 points and senior forward Marvin Clark II added 10 as St. John’s ended a three-game slide.

Senior guard Eli Cain scored 23 points for the 10th-seeded Blue Demons (15-15). Sophomore guard Devin Gage tallied 19 points and senior Max Strus added 14.

Sophomore forward Jaylen Butz collected 14 rebounds for DePaul, which owned a 40-30 edge on the boards.

The Red Storm shot 46.3 percent from the field, including 7 of 22 from 3-point range.

The Blue Demons shot 43.1 percent and were just 4 of 20 from behind the arc.

DePaul crept within 65-57 on a layup by sophomore forward Paul Reed with 8:43 remaining before the Red Storm halted that charge with nine straight points.

Ponds drained a 3-pointer, Simon and Figueroa delivered dunks and sophomore forward Sedee Keita scored on a layup to give St. John’s a 74-57 edge with 5:51 remaining en route to closing out the win.

The Red Storm opened up a 58-46 lead earlier in the half on Ponds’ three-point play with 12:31 left.

Simon scored 12 first-half points as St. John’s held a 39-35 lead at the break.

Cain scored 16 points to keep the Blue Demons close.

Clark made a 3-pointer to give the Red Storm a 16-6 lead with 13:37 left before DePaul erupted on a 12-2 run. Strus converted a four-point play to cap it and knot the score at 18 with 10:33 remaining.

St. John’s led by six later in the half before Cain culminated an 8-2 burst with two free throws to tie it at 27 with 4:18 remaining.

—Field Level Media

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