MIAMI, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Shamorie Ponds scored 37 points, including a personal 9-0 run down the stretch, and St. John’s rallied from 16 points down in the second half to beat Georgia Tech 76-73 on Saturday at the HoopHall Miami Invitational.
Justin Simon and LJ Figueroa each scored 13 for the Red Storm (7-0), who are off to their best start since 1994-95.
Jose Alvarado scored 17 for Georgia Tech (4-3), while James Banks III and Brandon Alston each scored 14 for the Yellow Jackets. Moses Wright scored 12 for Georgia Tech, which has dropped two straight.
The 16-point cushion is the biggest that Georgia Tech has had in what became a loss under coach Josh Pastner. The previous was a 13-point first-half advantage at Boston College last season.
Ponds’ nine straight points were part of a 13-0 run for the Red Storm, but Georgia Tech got within 73-71 on a 3-point play by Curtis Haywood II with 9.2 seconds remaining. A pair of free throws from Alvarado cut the Red Storm lead to one with 3.2 seconds left, but Ponds made two foul shots for a 76-73 lead and St. John’s survived when Alvarado’s 70-foot try wasn’t close as time expired.
The Yellow Jackets went on a 16-0 run late in the half, turning a 24-17 deficit into a 33-24 lead. Banks had seven points in that run, and Georgia Tech’s lead was 38-29 at the half — with St. John’s ending its field-goal drought at the buzzer, when Ponds swished one from mid-court.
The Red Storm got back within single digits by the midpoint of the half, and a pair of free throws from Ponds with 3:31 left — the sixth and seventh points of his personal 9-0 run — put his team back on top for good at 67-66.
Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin celebrated an anniversary on Saturday, in the exact same city his team won in this weekend. Exactly 28 years ago, on Dec. 1, 1990, Mullin scored 28 points against the Miami Heat. He was a perfect 11-for-11 from the field and 5-for-5 from the line to help Golden State beat the Heat.
This was the 10th meeting between the schools, and the ninth on a neutral floor. St. John’s has never played a true “home” game against Georgia Tech, although five of the neutral-site games have been at either Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center.
The game was played in the arena the Miami Heat call home. Chris Bosh, John Salley, Matt Geiger, Travis Best, and Craig Neal were Georgia Tech players who eventually joined the Heat, and it’s already been decided that Bosh will have his No. 1 jersey retired by the team.
The only St. John’s player to appear for the Heat is James Scott, who scored one point in eight games with the team in the 1996-97 season.
St. John’s hosts Mount St. Mary’s on Wednesday.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)