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St. John’s star named to All-Big East first team

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In the midst of his best collegiate season, St. John’s men’s hoops star Shamorie Ponds earned a spot on the All-Big East first team.

Ponds has averaged 21.6 points per game in 28 contests this season and cracked the 30-point plateau six times this season. He also leads the conference in steals with 2.5 per game and is ranked fourth in the Big East in assists.

“Shamorie had a great season. He had an incredible run in February, and has just been very consistent over his first two seasons,” head coach Chris Mullin said. “He’s been somewhat historic over these first two years at St. John’s, and we look for more good play from him.”

Ponds is the first St. john’s player to be named to the All-Big East first team since D’Angelo Harrison in 2015.

The sweet-shooting guard has had his fair share of big games this year. Ponds recorded 44 points in a February victory against Marquette. The total represents the most points ever scored by a Johnnie at Carnesecca Arena.

“It’s a blessing,” Ponds said after the Feb. 10 game. “All the great players who came through this university, for my name to be up there, it is a dream come true. A blessing.”

Before that, Ponds led St. John’s to back-to-back wins over top-five programs Duke and Villanova.

Against Duke, he scored 33 points while shooting 12-of-23 from the floor in 40 minutes to lead the Johnnies to an 81-77 victory over the Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden.

Four days later, Ponds netted 26 points in a 79-75 win over No. 1-ranked Villanova, the program’s first against a top-ranked opponent since the 1984-85 season.

“It’s big for the University, and it’s also big for us,” Ponds said of the back-to-back victories. “I feel like it will give us the little spark that we need going into the rest of the season. Two-huge wins. We’ve never lost the confidence, but no one wants to go through the losing. I feel like we stayed together, but we weren’t getting the outcomes that we wanted. If we stayed together, it would eventually fall through.”

Ponds’ season has been one of the best in program history. Despite missing three games this season, he is on the verge of entering the top 10 on the St. John’s single-season scoring list and was just 23 points away from his head coach, who ranks 10th with 629 points.

Ponds had a chance to pass Mullin when the Red Storm began postseason play Wednesday night after TimesLedger went to press. St. John’s faced off against Georgetown in the opening round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The Johnnies played Georgetown twice in the regular season, dropping both contests. The Red Storm fell to the Hoyas, 69-66 on Jan. 9 at MSG and dropped a closely contested double-overtime match, 93-89 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20

“We’ve played in two close games,” Mullin said. “One was in double-overtime and the other game came down to the last possession, so it’s a tight matchup. We look forward to starting a new season.”

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewelb@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

Posted 12:00 am, March 8, 2018
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