(Shamorie Ponds against Georgetown on Saturday – @StJohnsBball)
Monday was a huge day for the St. John’s Red Storm, as they earned a spot in the Associated Press Poll, ranked no. 24 in the nation after garnering a total of 221 points, and point guard Shamorie Ponds was named the Big East Player of the Week for the second time this season.
St. John’s, who is 14-1 overall, has received votes in every edition of the poll so far this season, and this is their first ranking in four years.
They improved to 2-1 in the Big East with two huge wins this week, over No. 16.18 Marquette 89-69, on New Year’s Day at Carnesecca Arena, followed by an overtime win at Georgetown, 97-94, on Saturday in Washington, DC.
The Red Storm’s 14-1 start matches the program’s best since 1985-86, when the Johnnies also went 14-1. Those Johnnies would go on to finish the season with a record of 31-5 and claim the program’s second Big East title in four years.
This is their first national ranking since January 5, 2015. That season, the Red Storm was ranked for five weeks in December and January, rising as high as no. 15 following an 11-1 start. The Johnnies would go on to record the program’s 28th NCAA Tournament appearance that year.
After suffering a heartbreaking loss at Seton Hall on December 29 to open Big East play, the Red Storm rattled off back-to-back quality victories this week to improve to 2-1 in conference action.
On New Year’s Day at Carnesecca Arena, the Red Storm thoroughly dominated the No. 16 Golden Eagles, cruising to an 89-69 victory in Queens. Ponds scored 26 points, 20 of which came in the first half, to lead five Johnnies in double figures.
A few days later at Georgetown, Ponds led the way for the Johnnies once again, pouring in 37 points to push the Red Storm past the Hoyas in overtime. The Red Storm, who trailed by four with just 18 seconds to play in regulation, came out on the winning side of a game at Georgetown for the first time since 2003. Five Johnnies also finished in double figures against the Hoyas, marking the fifth time in the team’s last eight games that the feat has been accomplished.
The Red Storm returns to action Tuesday night when they take on defending National Champion Villanova in Philadephia at 7 p.m.