QUEENS, N.Y. — St. John’s snapped a six-game losing streak to Creighton with an 81-66 win over the visiting Bluejays on Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena.
St. John’s snapped a two-game losing streak this season to improve to 15-3 (3-3 BIG EAST), while Creighton dropped to 10-8 overall (1-4 BIG EAST).
The Bluejays played without starting forward Damien Jefferson (ankle), while the Johnnies got a lift with a game-high 22 points from Shamorie Ponds after the junior guard had missed SJU’s loss to DePaul on Saturday.
Creighton broke free from a 13-13 game with a rare six-point possession. While Marcus Zegarowski’sthree-pointer was in flight, St. John’s was called for a foul while trying to box out. CU retained possession, and seven seconds later Ty-Shon Alexander splashed in a three-pointer. Those baskets ignited a 12-2 Bluejay spurt that saw Creighton build a 23-15 lead and lead to a Chris Mullin timeout. The Red Storm responded with an 18-6 run, with Ponds scoring eight of those, to retake the lead at 33-31. After a 7-for-22 start, the hosts connected on eight straight field goal attempts and would take a 39-34 lead into the locker room.
Ponds had 14 points to lead three Johnnies in double-figures at the break, while Creighton was paced at the half by 12 points from Zegarowski on 4-of-5 accuracy from deep.
Creighton closed to within three and missed four different shots that could have tied it before the Red Storm eventually extended the lead to 52-43 after a three-point play by Ponds and a trey from Justin Simon.
The St. John’s lead grew to double-figures for the first time at 64-53 with seven minutes left after LJ Figueroa scored twice in mere seconds after a backcourt turnover by the Bluejays.
CU trailed 70-62 with 3:37 left before a four-point play by Martin Krampelj, but got no closer down the stretch.
Zegarowski led Creighton with 17 points, one more than Davion Mintz. Krampelj also approached a double-double with 14 points (including five dunks) and nine rebounds. Creighton made 11-of-35 three-point shots but attempted just four free throws all evening. Creighton shot 43.3 percent overall (26-60) and dished 19 assists on 26 field goals.
Figueroa had his fourth double-double of the winter with 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Mustapha Heron had all 18 of his points after halftime. The Red Storm managed just two bench points, but outscored CU 11-2 in second chance points. St. John’s shot 31-for-65 (47.7 percent) from the field and 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) at the line.
Creighton returns to action on Monday, Jan. 21 with a 7:45 p.m. Central game at Georgetown that will be televised nationally on FS1.