Marvin Clark II finally got in rhythm Wednesday night. An essential piece for St. John’s last season, the senior forward struggled through the first seven games of this season. However, he looked more like the leader he was a year ago as he scored 21 points and shot 8-for-11 in an 85-71 win over Mount St. Mary’s at Carnesecca Arena.
“I’ve been trying to get my flow,” said Clark, who averaged 12.5 points last season but was getting just 9.1 and shooting 30 percent entering the game. “Tonight I did some little things that helped me get it going.”
“He’s been playing well but not making shots,” coach Chris Mullin said. “Even when he hasn’t been scoring, it hasn’t affected his game.”
Beating the Mountaineers (0-8) moved the Red Storm to 8-0 for the first time since the 1990-91 season, when they were 9-0 before losing to Syracuse. That season, Lou Carnesecca’s next to last, St. John’s went 23-9 and won three games in the NCAA Tournament. Yet none of the Storm will be writing home about this win.
Beating the winless Mountaineers (0-8) moved the Red Storm to 8-0, its best start since 1990-91. That season, Lou Carnesecca’s next to last, St. John’s went 23-9 and won three games in the NCAA Tournament. Yet none of the Storm will be writing home about this win.
Mount St. Mary’s was within 66-63 with less than eight minutes to play. Clark made a reverse layup and Shamorie Ponds found Justin Simon for an alley-oop with 6:20 to play for a 70-63 lead. A Ponds tip-in with 3:13 left made it 78-68, and St. John’s rolled from there.
"We’re not playing like we should be or could be,” said Simon, who had 14 points and seven assists. “We can play a whole lot better, and we have to. I just think we’re trying to find our rhythm.”
Mustapha Heron had 17 points, and LJ Figueroa had 13 points and 11 rebounds for St. John’s. Dee Barnes scored 26 for Mount St. Mary’s.
Mullin didn’t want to take anything away from the victory and said his team is continuing to improve.
“It’s progress, not perfection. We’ll keep stressing progress and not perfection,” Mullin said. “The focus has to be on first winning the game. Defensively, we have some improving to do. We have to keep on working on our defense, but we scored enough points.”
St. John’s shot 57 percent, including 13-for-27 on three-pointers. Still, the Storm couldn’t shake the Mountaineers until late.
“You can’t always dictate when the separation is going to happen,” Mullin said. “But we stuck to our principles and eventually it happened. [Mount St. Mary’s] played well and we pulled it out.”