Big East Grade Book: St. Johns dominates top seeds as Seton Hall continues to slump

No week in the Big East is complete without a double take. St. John’s followed up aweek upsetting then-No. 4 Duke with defeating then-No. 1 Villanova and Marquette for its first two conference victories of the season. Shamorie Ponds has continued to be locked in, following up 33 points against Duke with 26 points against Villanova and 44 points against Marquette. While St. John’s is not in NCAA Tournament contention, the sophomore has stepped up his game and carried his team to national headlines over the last two weeks.

(photo via USA Today)

While St. John’s has won three in a row, Seton Hall has dropped its last three and five of its last seven games. The latest Pirate loss came on the road against Georgetown, where a lackluster first half put them in too large of a hole to climb out of in the second. With Angel Delgado tweaking his knee in the past week, the senior class has not been able to apply a consistent effort and has dropped to sixth in Big East standings.

Ponds, Omari Spellman and Jamorko Pickett were among the highlight performances of the last two weeks in the Big East. Here’s how the star players break down.



A+:  Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s, G, So.) –Shamorie Ponds is the Big East Player of the Week for the second week in a row. He averaged 35.0 points in the pair of wins, highlighted by setting the all-time scoring record at Carnesecca Arena with 44 points. He flipped a switch and his impact cannot be understated.

Ponds went from career performance on the national stage in Saturday’s 81-77 takedown of then-No. 4 Duke at Madison Square Garden to upsetting the top team in the country for St. John’s first Big East win. After that, his 44 points scored against Marquette are in the history books for the fifth-most scored in a Big East game.

In the past week, Ponds is averaging 35 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, all on 55.8 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from three-point range. With Ponds playing at this level and notching two Big East victories in one week, St. John’s can now pose a threat to play spoiler to teams such as Seton Hall down the final stretch of the season.

A: Omari Spellman (Villanova, F, Fr.) – Spellman has stepped up recently and helped his teammates, especially against Seton Hall. The freshman is averaging 10.9 points and 7.7 rebounds this season on a top-three team, and his five Big East Freshman of the Week honors show the weight of his contributions.

A: Jamorko Pickett (Georgetown, F, Fr.) – Pickett stepped up in Georgetown’s win over Seton Hall on Feb. 10, averaging 12.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in a 1-1 week. Against Seton Hall, he contributed 18 points, three assists and two blocked shots. Scoring in double digits in four of the last seven games, Pickett is gaining steam for a Georgetown team that is starting to find answers.

A: Kelan Martin (Butler, F, Sr.) – Kelan Martin is Mr. 20-point scorer. He has recorded 20-plus points in all but one Big East games Butler has played so far, and averaged 32.0 points this past week against Xavier and Villanova. Martin thrives in the Big East.

B: Alpha Diallo (Providence, G, So.) – Diallo put up a monster 25 points and 10 rebounds against Seton Hall on Jan. 31. Despite the Pirates 73-57 victory over Providence, Diallo displayed he can create when he needs to. After averaging 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for the week, Diallo has shown he can be Providence’s go-to man.

B-: Desi Rodriguez (Seton Hall, F, Sr.) – Rodriguez got the nod on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll over his teammate Khadeen Carrington due to his consistency and offensive contribution last week, and was left off the list on Feb. 12 after a 0-2 week for Seton Hall. Rodriguez continues to be one of Seton Hall’s most lethal and dynamic weapons, but he cannot carry his team when free throws and slow starts remain to be issues.

A: Jalen Brunson (Villanova, G, Jr.) – Even though Spellman was the star, Brunson contributed 21 points to overtake the Pirates on Feb. 4, including a 7-of-9 performance from the charity stripe. He followed that week up by averaging 27.5 points in a 1-1 week and went 16-of-18 from the foul line. He continues to be a National Player of the Year candidate.

B+: Trevon Bluiett (Xavier, G, Sr.) – No. 4 Xavier continues to be on the rise, and Bluiett is a big reason why. His game-high 31 points were big time in defeated Georgetown in overtime, 96-91. The senior continues to lead the way for a surging Xavier team.