No. 16 Marquette was dealt a dose of reality in its 2018-19 BIG EAST opener, falling to St. John's, 89-69, on New Year's Day at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y. The Red Storm was in control most of the night, never trailing by less than seven at any point in the second half.
Junior guard Shamorie Ponds led the way for St. John's (12-1, 1-1 BIG EAST), scoring 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Ponds hit two of his four threes on consecutive possessions at the end of the first half, both coming while well-defended and from NBA range at the top of the key, to make it 39-31 Red Storm at halftime.
Markus Howard, meanwhile, never got it going for Marquette (11-3, 0-1), going just 2-for-15 from the floor and 2-for-8 beyond the arc. The high-scoring junior finished with just eight points and played a big part in Marquette shooting just 29 percent as a team from three-point range. In his first BIG EAST game, freshman Joey Hauser led Marquette in scoring with 15 points, while Ed Morrow had 12 and Joseph Chartouny 11 off the bench for MU.
Marquette struggled to find a rhythm at any point during the evening and wasn't aided by a favorable whistle for the Red Storm. Marquette's starters spent almost the entire night in foul trouble; none finished with fewer than three fouls. At one point, Ponds reacted to Theo John fouling him near the St. John's bench by emphatically shoving him away. John appeared not to say anything and put his hands up, yet both Ponds and John were called for technical fouls.
Still, a more even-handed whistle probably wouldn't have slowed the hot-shooting Red Storm, who finished the night hitting 54 percent of their shots and 45 percent (11-for-24) from three.
The win was St. John's largest over a ranked opponent since a win over No. 20 Pittsburgh back when Carnesecca Arena was called Alumni Hall in 1998. Though Marquette has only lost three games this season, two of those losses have come on the road and by 20 or more points, including this game and a 96-73 defeat at Indiana.
Marquette will try to right the ship back at home against Xavier in a game that will start at 11 a.m. CST Sunday.
Video: Big East Conference
Photo: Getty Images