The Red Storm improved to 6-1 with the victory, while UCF, who was picked to finish third in the American Athletic Conference, fell to 4-2.
It was the lowest point total allowed to a Division I opponent by St. John’s since the Red Storm defeated St. Francis Brooklyn, 59-42, in 2006.
“From our standpoint, to hang in there and get the win was the only thing we really concerned ourselves with,” said head coach Chris Mullin. “It was probably as ugly of a game as you are going to see on both sides, but someone had to win. I’m glad it was us.”
With 15 blocks, the Red Storm tied a single-game program record, a mark that had been reached just three times in St. John’s history.
Tariq Owens led the way with five swats, while Justin Simon, who also scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds, set a new career-high with four.
Marcus LoVett tallied a game-high 12 points to go along with two steals. Marvin Clark was the only other Johnnie to finish in double figures, going 3-for-5 from three-point range and sinking a pair of free throws for 11 points.
Despite tallying just six points on the contest an being held scoreless in the first half, Shamorie Ponds tied a career-high with 10 rebounds in addition to dishing out four assists and recording three steals.
“I don’t feel like they took me out of the game, I just couldn’t find my rhythm from scoring,” said Ponds. “I was just trying to find whatever I can do to impact the game.”
St. John’s is back in action on Saturday, when they host Sacred Heart in Queens at 4:30 p.m.