St John’s edges UCF 46-43; both shoot under 28 percent
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Marcus LoVett scored 12 points, Marvin Clark II had 11 points and seven rebounds, and St. John’s beat UCF 46-43 on Sunday for third at the Advocare Invitational.
Shamorie Ponds scored the final six points for St. John’s — with four at the line — in the last seven minutes. His two free throws made it 42-32 at the 6:21 mark and two more makes with 1:11 to go capped the scoring.
UCF’s Ceasar DeJesus and Dayon Griffin both missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Knights were just 1 of 13 from distance.
“From our standpoint, to just hang in there and get the win was good,” Red Storm coach Chris Mullin said. “About as ugly a game as you’ll see but we still got a win.”
Both teams struggled from the floor as St. John’s shot 27.1 percent (16 of 59) while UCF was 26.4.
“I think we’re pressing a little on the perimeter,” Knights coach Johnny Dawkins said. “The main thing I think we need to clean up is valuing the basketball ... and that’s something we’re going to make sure we work toward.”
Justin Simon had eight points and eight boards, and Ponds added six points and 10 rebounds for St. John’s (6-1).
“That was a great win for us,” Clark said. “We need this win ... not the prettiest basketball, but I’m happy we could win a basketball game without hitting a bunch of shots.”
Chad Brown led the Knights (4-2) with 12 points and seven rebounds. Tacko Fall added eight points, five rebounds and four blocks but fouled out with 6:21 remaining in the game.
PONDS SURVIVES ROUGH OUTING
Ponds, averaging 21 points per game, was held to just 1-of-11 shooting. He was coming off a career-high 31 points against Missouri on Friday and was averaging 28.5 points during the first two days of the tournament.
“Coach is always telling me to remain confident every night because it’s not going to fall every night,” Ponds said. “I just stay composed and stick to my game.”
KNIGHTS MISSING TAYLOR
UCF went 1-2 in the tournament without starting point guard B.J. Taylor. He was a second-team All-AAC conference player last season after averaging 17.4 points per game.
The Knights starting guards combined to go 4 of 13 for nine points Sunday.
“We got young guys; especially at the guard position,” Knights forward A.J. Davis said. “It’s tough to have young guys at the guard position. It’s a great learning experience for these young guys.”
St. John’s: The Red Storm had a block party Sunday with 15 rejections. Tariq Owens led the team with five blocks and Ahmed Bashir had four.
UCF: The Knights got to the free-throw line 23 times but made just 14.
St. John’s: The Red Storm will host Sacred Heart next Saturday.
UCF: The Knights host Missouri on Thursday night.