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No. 16 Arizona State holds off St. John's
Friday, December 08, 2017
Final Score: ST JOHNS 70, ARIZONA ST 82
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LOS ANGELES -- No. 16 Arizona State built a big first-half lead, then weathered a second-half St. John's storm to win 82-70 in the first game of Friday's Basketball Hall of Fame Classic tripleheader at Staples Center.

The Sun Devils (8-0) went on a 19-3 run in a first half that favored their uptempo style, and led by as many as 18 points. Arizona State hit six of its first eight 3-point attempts, including a 3-of-3 start from freshman forward Vitaliy Shibel, who scored a career-high 11 points.

St. John's (8-2) cut a 12-point halftime deficit in half to start the second half and, after a 7-0 Arizona State run, chipped away for the ensuing 14 minutes.

The Red Storm held Arizona State without a point for a 3:05 stretch, flipping a tempo that favored the Pac-12 Conference team for the first 20 minutes into a pace more befitting the Big East-based St. John's.

Junior forward Tariq Owens threw down a couple of dunks and connected on a 3-pointer in that stretch to power the Red Storm.

Sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds cut the deficit to one on a layup with 2:41 left. After Arizona State senior guard Kodi Justice responded with 3-pointer, Ponds had a pull-up jump shot attempt spin around the rim and off in a moment indicative of the 20.2-point-per-game scorer's night.

Ponds finished with 19 points but shot just 6 of 23 from the floor.

Arizona State's leading scorer, senior guard Tra Holder, endured a similarly rough night from the field, going 2 of 12 from the field and scoring seven points.

Picking up the slack was freshman forward Romello White, who scored two of his game-high 22 points on a layup with 1:25 left that gave the Sun Devils a six-point lead. White also grabbed nine rebounds and earned Most Valuable Player for his efforts.

Senior guard Shannon Evans scored 18 points with a game-high six assists, and Justice added 15 points.

Junior forward Marvin Clark II scored 18 points and Owens had 17 for the Red Storm. Redshirt sophomore guard Justin Simon -- a product of nearby Temecula, Calif., who had a sizable cheering contingent in attendance -- finished with six points, five rebounds and a team-high five assists.

NOTES: Arizona State freshman F Vitaliy Shibel came into Friday's game just 3 of 17 from behind the 3-point line. He went 3 of 5 against St. John's. ... Arizona State's 23-of-27 shooting from the free-throw line (85.2 percent) was its second-best effort of the season behind a 92 percent game against Xavier on Nov. 24. ... The 14 turnovers St. John's forced tied its season low. The other came in the Red Storm's only other loss, Nov. 24 vs. Missouri.

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