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The Quick & The Dirty: St. John’s 86, Marquette 78

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The Golden Eagles pick up their eighth league loss of the season as Shamorie Ponds explodes for 44 points.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

After a competitive first half at Carnesecca Arena in New York, Shamorie Ponds dropped 27 of his new career high 44 points as St. John’s continued their wild hot streak and dropped Marquette Golden Eagles, 86-78.

Marquette is now 14-11 overall and 5-8 in Big East play. The Golden Eagles came into this game with essentially no wiggle room in terms of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, and that will almost assuredly require running the table at this point. That is not a sentence that I wanted to be typing on February 10th, but here we are.

As great as Ponds was in the second half, connecting on nine of his 12 shots, it was really just a continuation of what was going on in the first half. The St. John’s offense on the day essentially solely consisted of Ponds doing whatever he wanted. He ended up with 23 of SJU’s 50 shots in the game, and given how he was torturing Marquette, you can’t blame his teammates for making sure he got the ball.

The key point in the game came right around the eight minute mark of the second half. Sam Hauser had just connected on a three-pointer to pull Marquette back within four. St. John’s had built a nine point advantage a few minutes earlier, and now the margin was manageable for the Golden Eagles again. BANG, Ponds triple, and then eight seconds after Andrew Rowsey missed a three on the other end, BANG, another Ponds triple. St. John’s up 10 all of a sudden with 7:40 to go.

The lead would dip back to seven on the next made shot as Rowsey drained a three, one of six on the day for him on his way to a team high 34 points, but that’s as close as Marquette would get the rest of the way. The margin never got bigger than 12, but St. John’s also never let MU get closer than arm’s length.

While St. John’s was a one-man show to great effect, Marquette was a three-man show to lesser effect. Players not named Markus Howard, Andrew Rowsey, or Sam Hauser combined for just eight points on 13 shots, which is generally not going to be enough of a support system for the Treys Amigos. To put that into relief: Marquette shot 40% (12-of-30) from behind the three point arc in this game, which is exactly what this team needs to do to win, but they shot just 40.6% overall from the floor. 16-of-39 inside the arc just isn’t going to cut it.

Up Next: Marquette will take a week off [insert joke about how they took Saturday off already here] before heading out to Omaha to tangle with Creighton. The Bluejays are 3-2 since Martin Krampelj went down with a season ending knee injury with a home date against Xavier getting started as I type this and a mid-week non-D1 game against Bemidji State for some insane reason coming up on Tuesday.