The St. John’s men’s basketball team will look to end its longest road trip of the season on a high note when it takes on the No. 10/9 Marquette Golden Eagles on Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET on FS1 with Jason Kutcher and Bill Raftery on the call. The game will also be broadcast locally on 570 AM WMCA, as John Minko and Vin Parise are set to deliver the action live from Fiserv Forum.
The Red Storm (16-6, 4-5 BIG EAST) enters the contest tied for third in the BIG EAST standings behind Villanova (18-4, 9-0 BIG EAST) and Marquette (19-3, 8-1 BIG EAST). The Johnnies handed Marquette its first and only loss of the conference season so far on New Year’s Day in Queens, as 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists from Shamorie Ponds helped propel the Red Storm to an 89-69 win over a Golden Eagles squad that was ranked no. 16 in the country at the time. Since that meeting on Jan. 1, the Marquette has rattled off eight-straight victories. This time around, St. John’s will look to serve Marquette its first loss at Fiserv Forum, as the Golden Eagles are 14-0 this season at their new home. Those 14 wins feature three triumphs over ranked opponents.
Ponds was far from the only St. John’s player to put forth a stellar effort the last time the Red Storm took on Marquette. All five starters finished in double figures that evening, as the team shot 53.6 percent from the floor and connected on 11 of its 24 three-point attempts (45.8%). Marvin Clark II posted 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including a 4-for-6 showing from three-point range. Mustapha Heron scored all 16 of his points in the second half in addition to collecting eight rebounds, while Justin Simon tallied 12 points and five boards. LJ Figueroa sank five of his seven tries from inside the arc en route to finishing with 11 points and three assists. Aside from a well-rounded offensive effort, the Red Storm’s most impressive showing came on the defensive end, where the Johnnies limited the BIG EAST’s leading scorer, Markus Howard, to a season-low eight points on 2-of-15 shooting. Georgetown technically held Howard scoreless on Jan. 15, but the junior guard played just three minutes due to back spasms.
Howard, who ranks fourth nationally with a 25.0 point-per-game scoring average, leads three Golden Eagles in double figures, as brothers Sam and Joey Hauser are averaging 15.5 and 10.7 points per game, respectively. Sam has scored 19 or more points in each of his last five outings, averaging 22.8 points per contest on 56.9 percent shooting, including an 18-of-34 effort from three-point range.
As a team, Marquette ranks ninth nationally with a 39.9 percent success rate from beyond the arc. The Golden Eagles also sport Division I’s sixth best free throw percentage at 77.5.
The Red Storm will look to snap a streak that has seen the home team claim victory in each of the last five games played between Marquette and St. John’s dating back to the start of the 2016-17 season. The Johnnies have not won in Milwaukee since the penultimate game of the 2014-15 regular season, a 67-51 win anchored by 21 points from D’Angelo Harrison and a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double from Sir’Dominic Pointer.
St. John’s will play its third straight road tilt on Tuesday, wrapping up an eight-day trip that also featured matchups at Creighton and No. 2 Duke. In the opening game of the swing, St. John’s defeated the Bluejays for the first time in Omaha behind 26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals from Ponds. The junior guard from Brooklyn has scored 20 or more points in seven consecutive BIG EAST games and currently ranks second in the league with 22.9 point per contest during conference play. Ponds led four St. John’s scorers in double figures against the Bluejays, as the Red Storm completed its first-ever regular season sweep of Creighton behind a season-high 57.9 percent shooting effort from the field. Over the final 22:30 of regulation on Wednesday, the Johnnies shot 71.4 percent (20-of-28) from the floor and 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from three-point range.
On Saturday in Durham, the Red Storm could not contain Duke’s heralded freshman class of likely first round draft picks, as Zion Williamson’s 29 points led the Blue Devils to a 91-61 victory. The Johnnies set or matched season lows for points, field goal percentage (33.8%), 3-point field goal percentage (19.2%) and 3-pointers made (5). After beating the Blue Devils last year at Madison Square Garden behind 33 points from Ponds, the Johnnies were looking to become the first non-conference opponent to win at Cameron Indoor Stadium since Feb. 26, 2000, when Bootsy Thornton’s 22 points led St. John’s past Duke. Excluding the Red Storm, a non-conference team has not won at Cameron since 1996.
For his efforts in those two games, Ponds was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the sixth time this season on Monday. He averaged 18.5 points, 6.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 5.0 steals per game in the Johnnies’ 1-1 week.
After taking on the Golden Eagles, St. John’s will return home for three straight games beginning with a Feb. 9 clash against Providence at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is set for noon on CBS Sports Network. The Johnnies will then host Butler on Feb. 12 before welcoming Villanova to “The World’s Most Famous Arena” on Feb. 17. Tickets for all three home games can be purchased by visiting RedStormTix.com or calling the St. John’s Ticket Office at 1-888-GO-STORM.
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