Instead, the teams boasts a 15-1 record following their first three Big East encounters.
In spite of the events from the first loss to Seton Hall in late December, the Red Storm bounced back to defeat sixteenth-ranked Marquette, 89-69, at Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday and Georgetown, 97-94, in overtime in Washington D.C. on Saturday.
The latter victory also came on former Red Storm coach Lou Carnesecca’s 94th birthday, giving the team their best start since 1985-1986, when Carnesecca led St. John’s to their second Final Four appearance and first since 1952.
“I talked to Coach Carnesecca before the game and that’s all he wanted, to win against Georgetown,” head coach Chris Mullin, who played under Carnesecca, said after beating Georgetown. “I think there’s tremendous excitement, optimism, and a good feeling.”
For the first time this week, the Red Storm was able to crack the AP Top 25 poll, landing at number 24 on the list.
“I think it’s great that our fan-base has watched us throughout,” Mullin added. “They watched us struggle, improve, and now watch them have success. It’s a genuine and authentic way to go about it.”
The win against Marquette is the highlight of the season to this point, especially considering the Red Storm had yet to knock off a ranked opponent prior to this past week.
“I believe it shows that we have a talented team,” said senior Marvin Clark II, who had 22 points and seven rebounds over the Golden Eagles. “Whatever the naysayers were saying about our non-conference schedule, it doesn’t matter.”
The Red Storm poured on 50 second-half points and recorded their largest margin of victory against a ranked team since 1998, all while limiting Marquette’s leading scorer, Markus Howard, to just eight points.
“I feel liked we keyed on him,” said Red Storm star Shamorie Ponds, who led with 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Howard’s eight points were part of a miserable 2-of-15 shooting performance. “We know he likes to take a lot of three’s, so we tried to limit them and the transition points.”
Following the win against Georgetown, Justin Simon attributed St. John’s success thus far to the team’s depth.
“We have a lot of experience on this team,” said the junior, who had 14 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks against the Hoyas. “Mustapha [Heron] fouled out and we still were able to maintain the comeback. Then Marvin [Clark II] went out and then the next guy came up. We always have the next guy up ready to come in and play.”