OMAHA, Neb. — Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year Shamorie Ponds had 26 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals to lead St. John’s men’s basketball to its first win over Creighton in Omaha in eight tries, 83-67, before 16,832 fans at CHI Health Center Omaha.
The Red Storm snapped a two-game skid to improve to 16-5 (4-5 BIG EAST), while Creighton had a two-game win streak snapped to fall to 12-9 (3-5 BIG EAST).
Creighton led 20-14 after three-balls from Zegarowski and Mitch Ballock, but the Red Storm answered with a 9-2 run to retake the lead at 23-22. The teams were tied at 32 with two minutes left in the first half before the Red Storm closed out the half on a 12-2 run, burying four consecutive three-pointers to head to the intermission with a 44-34 lead.
Creighton closed within eight points (48-40) after back-to-back scores inside from Krampelj with 17 minutes remaining before St. John’s countered with a 9-0 spurt to stretch the lead to 57-40 with 14:36 left.
Creighton did trim the deficit to 11 on a pair of occasions, including 71-60 with 8:03 left, but another 8-0 SJU surge helped the Red Storm pull away for good.
St. John’s shot a season-best 57.9 percent for the game and drained 13-of-31 three-point shots. The Red Storm won the rebound battle 36-28 and converted 14 Bluejay turnovers into 20 points. Joining Ponds in double-figures were Mustapha Heron (17), LJ Figueroa (15) and Bryan Trimble Jr. (a season-high 11).
Creighton shot a season-low 41.7 percent (25-60) and were just 9-of-34 (26.5 percent) from three-point range while also shooting 8-of-15 at the charity stripe (53.3 percent).
Creighton hosts Xavier at Noon on Sunday, Feb. 3.