St. John’s produced three extended scoring runs to pave the way for an 80-55 non-conference victory over Central Connecticut on Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena in New York City.
Sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds led St. John’s (2-0) with 21 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Marcus LoVett delivered all 15 of his points in the second half while Arizona transfer Justin Simon posted a career-high 12 points with 11 rebounds.
Junior center Deion Bute paced Central Connecticut (0-3) with 19 points and nine rebounds while senior forward Mustafa Jones added 13 points. That duo combined to hit 14 of 21 shots from the field, but their teammates canned just 6 of 27 (22 percent).
Central Connecticut lost its first two games by a combined five points at Hartford and Rutgers, but couldn’t cling as closely to St. John’s.
The Red Storm subdued the Blue Devils with 9-0 and 11-0 runs in the first half, but saved their 16-0 knockout blow for the second half once Central Connecticut pulled within 12. The final spree featured multiple behind-the-back passes on fast breaks as St. John’s regained control.
St. John’s canned 8 of 14 3-pointers until junk time reduced its final showing to 9 of 21 from long range. The Red Storm forced the Blue Devils into 21 turnovers and won the rebound battle by nine.
Assistant coaches Mike Witcoskie and Anthony Ross ran the Central Connecticut bench for the third game in a row as head coach Donyell Marshall and veteran assistant Anthony Anderson continue to be on leave for a “personal matter.”