PHOENIX — Shamorie Ponds scored 28 points for his sixth 20-plus game, Justin Simon had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and St. John’s held off Grand Canyon 68-60 on Tuesday night.
Ponds’ steal and breakaway dunk made it 58-43 with 5:52 left but Casey Benson’s 3-point play pulled Grand Canyon within 62-55 at 1:52. The Antelopes made it 66-59 with 55.6 left and forced a turnover on the inbound pass, but missed two 3-pointers and a hook shot in the lane on one possession.
Simon sealed it with two free throws at 22.3 for a nine-point lead.
Marvin Clark II added 10 points for St. John’s (8-1), which turned 21 Grand Canyon turnovers into 22 points.
St. John’s was ahead 25-14 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Simon and Ponds. The Antelopes went without a field goal for nearly eight minutes in the half, but closed on an 8-3 run — with 3s from Joshua Braun and Gerard Martin — to get within 32-27.
Grand Canyon had just 13 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half.
Benson finished with 18 points, Braun had 13, and Roberts Blumbergs 10 for Grand Canyon (5-2). Keonta Vernon grabbed 15 rebounds.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Arizona beat No. 7 Texas A&M 67-64.