Top 25 men

NEW YORK — That’s two losses in three games for No. 4 Duke — and this one to a team that hadn’t won since Christmas.

No wonder coach Mike Krzyzewski called it a “disgusting” performance.

Shamorie Ponds scored 33 points and St. John’s stunned the Blue Devils 81-77 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, snapping an 11-game losing streak and handing a suddenly suspect Duke squad its second defeat in eight days.

“We got what we deserved,” Krzyzewski said. “We weren’t able to knock them out after we lost the first 12 rounds of a 15-round fight.”

Bashir Ahmed added 19 points and Tariq Owens had 17 for the Red Storm (11-13), who overcame an early 10-point deficit and fought off Duke’s heralded freshmen down the stretch in their biggest victory under third-year coach Chris Mullin.

It was the first win for St. John’s since Dec. 20 against Saint Joseph’s.

“We would have taken a win if it was in an empty gym,” Mullin said. “Thank God January is over.”

St. John’s was playing the second of three straight games against top-6 opponents in a span of nine days. Next up, a visit to No. 1 Villanova on Wednesday night.

“We are happy but we can’t stop here. We have to keep pushing,” said Ponds, a sophomore guard. “This is big to get a win on the board. We can start fresh.”

Gary Trent Jr. had 22 points for the Blue Devils (19-4), who perhaps got caught looking ahead to their first matchup of the season with bitter rival North Carolina on Thursday night.

Krzyzewski didn’t think so.

“Ponds was really as good a guard offensively as we’ve played against,” he said. “We came in prepared.”

Freshman sensation Marvin Bagley III scored 19 for Duke but sat out a significant chunk of the second half with four fouls. Wendell Carter Jr. added 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Outhustled all afternoon, Duke was coming off an easy win Monday over Notre Dame that followed a 65-63 loss at home to No. 2 Virginia last weekend.

“I thought they made us look bad, but we made ourselves look bad. We did not play basketball the first 32 minutes worthy of our program. And we had blank faces, we didn’t talk, we were like five individuals out there and it was disgusting, really,” Krzyzewski said.

The Associated Press

COMMENTS