LJ Figueroa collected career highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds as St. John’s never trailed and remained unbeaten with an 85-64 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday night at Queens, N.Y.
Figueroa scored in double figures for the fifth straight game as St. John’s (6-0) opened a season with six straight wins for the first time since 2009-10 and remained the lone unbeaten team in the Big East.
The sophomore made 10 of 17 shots and produced his second career game with at least 20 points as the Red Storm shot 48.4 percent and held a 42-30 edge on the glass.
Mustapha Heron rebounded from a 2-of-12 showing against VCU last week in the Legends Classic and added 20 points and nine rebounds. Reserve Mikey Dixon contributed 14 as St. John’s easily won on a night when Shamorie Ponds was held to four points and seemed to become more of a distributor with six assists.
Ryan Andino hit eight 3-pointers and scored 24 points, but Maryland-Eastern Shore shot 37.9 percent.
Reserve Tyler Jones added 18, but leading scorer AJ Cheeseman was held to one point as the Hawks (1-6) lost their second game of the season against a Big East foe.
St. John’s scored the first nine points and then pulled away midway through the first half. The Hawks were within 20-12 on a 3-pointer by Jones with about 10 minutes left, but St. John’s scored the next 10 points.
The Red Storm took their first 20-point lead on a jumper by Figueroa with 5:18 left and held a 52-28 lead by halftime after shooting 52 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
The Hawks were within 71-56 on a 3-pointer by Andino with 7:46 left, but St. John’s sealed the win by scoring the next 11 points, capped by Figueroa’s put-back of a missed free throw with 2:40 remaining.
—Field Level Media