It’s hard to overstate just how unlikely the last two weeks have been for both Shamorie Ponds and St. John’s.
Just nine days ago, the Johnnies were one of college basketball’s most disappointing teams, sitting on an 11-game losing streak, winless in the Big East, about to be in the market for a new head coach.
Then they beat Duke last Saturday. Then they went into Philly and knocked off then-No. 1 Villanova. And then they kept that run going, picking off Marquette in Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
It was Ponds that was the star, and man, has he been a star. There is not a player in the sport that is in a rhythm like Ponds is right now. He had 44 points in the win over Marquette, the most points scored by a St. John’s player since 2003. He had 26 points, five boards and five assists in the win over Villanova. And that was after breaking 30 in back-to-back games, putting 33 on Duke in a win and 31 on Xavier in a loss.
The season is pretty much over for the Johnnies at this point. I don’t see a realistic path to an at-large bid, and unless you think they can find a way to get through both Xavier and Villanova in the Big East tournament, they are drawing dead this season.
But does that really matter if you are a St. John’s fan?
When Ponds is in a rhythm like this, they can play with literally any team on any court. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, and hope it lasts for another two years.
THE ALL-‘THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
- LUKE MAYE, North Carolina: Maye became the second player in ACC history to post two 30-15 games after going for 33 points (27 in the second half) and 17 boards in a win at N.C. State on Saturday. That came after he had 15 points in Thursday’s win over Duke. Not bad, Luke. Not bad.
- JUSTIN ROBINSON, Virginia Tech: Robinson finished with 32 points and four assists as Virginia Tech beat N.C. State at home on Wednesday night before following that up with 20 points as the Hokies went into Charlottesville and knocked off No. 2 Virginia.
- MANU LECOMTE, Baylor: Lecomte averaged 18 points and five assists in a pair of wins that got Baylor back into the bubble conversation — at Oklahoma State and at home against Kansas by 16 points.
- TYUS BATTLE, Syracuse: The Orange have six scholarship players available right now, but it still looks like they are headed for the NCAA tournament. This week certainly helped, with wins at Louisville and over Wake Forest. Battle averaged 29.5 points in those wins. He’s averaging 40.7 minutes in his last 19 games.
- MILES BRIDGES, Michigan State: Bridges had what may be his best week of the season to date, going for 25 points in a three-point win at Iowa before putting up 20 points — including a game-winner — in a win over No. 3 Purdue on Saturday.