A white hat with three big red letters on the front was brought to the post-game conference table by the St. John Red Storm’s leading scorer Shamorie Ponds following their win over the Georgetown Hoyas March 7 at Madison Square Garden.
What did the letters read? TMC.
Run-and-gun. Fast paced. The Big Three, better known as Run TMC. The high tempo offense of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin is still alive.
Head Coach Mullin, and Assistant Coach Richmond of the St. John’s Red Storm, defeated the Georgetown Hoyas in the last episode of their 2018 trilogy in the first round of the Big East Tournament 88-77.
Run TMC was a two-year triumph of the three players who took a depressed Golden State Warriors team to the playoffs after an almost nine-year drought and two losses in the Western Conference Semifinals. In the last year of the Run TMC folklore, they upset the No. 2 seeded San Antonio Spurs.
And here we are in 2018, with the M and the C of the abbreviation as coaches facing a higher seeded team, and they lead a team to victory in the first round of the post-season tournament.
The Red Storm had five players in double digits, with a team total of 13 assists and 10 turnovers. Ponds had 26, Justin Simon and Marvin Clark II had 16, Tariq Owens had 13, and Bashir Ahmed had 10.
“Gotta support my coaches man,” said Ponds of his hat. “If it’s them, it’s us so.”
Ponds returned to the team after missing the last two games with an abdominal strain. He averages 21.6 points per game.
“When we practice, a lot of our sets have multiple options,” Mullin said. “Justin and Shamorie did a great job with that all year.
Late in the first half, Simon slipped off a screen to the rim for an alley-oop setup by Bashir Ahmed. On the next possession Simon found Tariq Owens for another one. Simon finished with 16 points and team high of six assists.
“That (alley-oop) definitely gave the team a little spark,” said Simon. “But, like coach said, when we picked up our defense we went on a little run.”
Each player on the team had at least one steal. Simon, Ahmed and Owens all had two steals totaling the Hoyas game high of 18 turnovers.
St. John’s plays the No. 1 seeded Xavier Musketeers at noon March 8. And this is exactly the type of challenge that will fuel the MC-coached offense.