NEW YORK (AP) — Star guard Shamorie Ponds is sitting out for No. 24 St. John's against DePaul because of a lower back strain.

Ponds, the Big East preseason player of the year, ranks third in the league in scoring at 20.6 points per game. He is first in assists (6.0) and steals (2.7), and was one of 25 players in the country selected to the midseason watch list for the Wooden Award this week.

Bryan Trimble Jr. was set to start in Ponds' place Saturday night at Carnesecca Arena.

The school says Ponds initially was injured at Georgetown last Saturday, when he scored 37 points during an overtime victory. He played through the problem and had 23 points Tuesday night in a 76-71 loss at defending national champion Villanova.

Ponds had started all 16 games this season. St. John's went 1-2 without him last season.


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