Shamorie Ponds nearly recorded a triple-double with 16 points, a career-high 14 assists and nine rebounds and St. John’s remained unbeaten by pulling away in the second half for a 73-58 victory over Wagner on Sunday.
Ponds nearly became the first St. John’s player to get a triple-double since Metta World Peace, then known as Ron Artest, totaled 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in an 86-75 win over Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 9, 1999.
He checked out of the game with 1:56 remaining with the outcome clinched and finished with his third career double-double and second points-assists double-double. Ponds also missed getting St. John’s second triple-double since Mark Jackson also achieved the feat in 1985-86
LJ Figueroa led St. John’s with 19 points as the Red Storm shot 44.9 percent, made 12 of 25 3-pointers and outscored Wagner 44-30 in the second half.
Figueroa and Ponds helped the Red Storm (10-0) open a season with 10 straight wins for the first time since 1982-83 when current coach Chris Mullin was a sophomore at the school. The Red Storm also are on their first 10-game winning streak since the 1985-86 season.
It is the sixth time in the school’s lengthy history that St. John’s opened with two straight wins and only the second time since 1951.
Marvin Clark II added 14 and Mustapha Heron chipped in 10 as St. John’s beat Wagner for the 11th straight time.
Romone Saunders led Wagner with 17 points but the Seahawks started the second half by missing 11 of their first 12 shots and shot 33.3 percent while taking their second loss of the season against a Big East opponent. He was the lone player in double figures for Wagner, which also lost to Seton Hall in its season opener.
St. John’s was unable to get separation in the final minutes of the first half and settled for a 29-28 lead at halftime. Saunders hit a jumper 15 seconds into the second half but St. John’s never trailed after Figueroa hit a 3-pointer with 19:34 left.
Figueroa hit another 3-pointer two-plus minutes later for a 39-32 lead and it started an 11-0 run that expanded the lead to 47-32 on a 3-pointer by Ponds with 14:42 remaining. The Red Storm took their first 20-point lead at 65-45 on a layup by Clark with 7:09.
—Field Level Media