NEW YORK – Playing its first game in Madison Square Garden this season, St. John’s improved to 9-0 with an 89-74 win against Princeton in the MSG Holiday Festival on Sunday afternoon. The Johnnies are off to their best start since 1990-91. They’re one of nine undefeated teams in the country.
Shamorie Ponds led five St. John’s players in double figures with 26 points. He also had five rebounds, five assists and four steals. L.J. Figueroa contributed 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals.
In the national polls released Monday, Villanova moved up to No. 17 in the AP and No. 16 in USA Today. The Wildcats have won six in a row. Marquette jumped into the AP poll at No. 21 after its 74-69 overtime win over then-No. 12 Wisconsin. St. John’s, Butler, Creighton and Seton Hall received votes in at least one of the two polls.
The BIG EAST schedule is dark tonight and shows only one game on Tuesday. It’s exam week for many schools. There are only 11 games through Sunday.
Villanova plays its final Philadelphia Big 5 game when it meets Pennsylvania at the Palestra Tuesday on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. ET. The Wildcats will be aiming for their record 25th straight victory in Big 5 play. Last week, they defeated Temple and Saint Joseph’s with the help of reserve guard Jermaine Samuels who averaged 13.0 points and 7.5 rebounds for the two games. The Wildcats and Quakers are both 8-2. Penn is off to its best start since 1994-95.