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St. John’s Knocks Down No. 13 Butler

(Photo by Double G Media)

(Photo by Double G Media)

The Red Storm came back from trailing No.13 Butler in the second half to win the game, 76-73, in Queens, to a sold out crowd at Carnesecca Arena, Thursday night. St. John’s, winning their first Big East Conference game, last beat a ranked opponent back in 1998 when they beat No. 20 Pittsburgh, 73-52.

The Red Storm’s win against the Bulldogs was the Johnnies’ best on campus since their win as No. 9 against No. 13 Syracuse, 85-69, on February 23, 1983. Former St. John’s superstar and current head coach, who was then a sophomore, Chris Mullin, scored 19 points in that victory over the Orangemen.

Freshman, Shamorie Ponds tied a career-high 26 points, with 19 of them coming in the second half, on 9-of-15 shooting. The Preseason BIG EAST Freshman of the Year also grabbed seven boards and had two steals and two blocks in 36 minutes of action. Bashir Ahmed added 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting to the Red Storm’s win and had five rebounds. Adding to the two Johnnies with double figures was Marcus LoVett, who had 10 points, along with two assists.

Malik Ellison gave seven points, including a crucial dunk to tie the game right near the end. Darien Williams had six points on 3-of-3 shooting and six rebounds in 22 minutes. St. John’s, as a team, shot 50 percent or better for the fifth time this season.

Following a Kelan Martin jumper with 2:56 to go and the Red Storm trailing by only five, Ponds nailed a 3-pointer before Ellison was able to steal the ball and convert a slam dunk to tie the game at 69. After Tyler Wideman put the Bulldogs back on top, leading with two, LoVett was able to tie the game once again at 71 with 41 seconds left on the clock.

With the lead at three and only seconds left on the clock, St. John’s chose to foul Tyler Lewis, who made both of his tries to bring Butler within one, 74-73. Ponds was then fouled and sank both of his free throws, winning the game for the Red Storm.

This was the first win for a St. John’s team in Big East opener since Dec. 27, 2011, when former Johnny, Moe Harkless, scored 32 points and had 13 boards to win against Providence, 91-67.

The Red Storm is back on New Year’s Day for a 2 p.m. ET showdown against the DePaul Blue Demons.  The game will be televised live on FS1 and on 570 AM WMCA.

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