(photo by Red Storm Sports)
In many ways, this win will be hard to get over.
Not only did they lose to the rival Pirates.
Not only did they lose to the rival Seton Hall at home.
Not only did they look like playground players suddenly confronted with the idea of playing against the Nets, where they were good enough to get shots off but too amped to get them to fall.
And Carnesecca Arena looked like the penny-ante old gym some claim it to be, with a shot clock that wasn't working at the outset of the game; they brought in movable shot clocks and set them up in the corners of the court on the floor.
In the postgame interview, Norm looked lost and defeated - again - and watching this team and these people suffer is tough to watch. The "Fire Norm" chants were audible in Carnesecca Arena.
The players looked lost.
It was a horrendous game. One that started off with the clock delay (more stops than the R train, I wrote on Twitter last night), and an early punch in the gonads by Herb Pope to Malik Boothe after they were fighting for what became a jump ball. Then Hazell was bleeding from the webbing between fingers of his shooting hand. The refs didn't call many fouls, the whole contest looked out of control, and St. John's - despite the slow 60 possession pace - played the Hall's game. It was a class game all around. I am sure I'll find it funny, one day. But that ain't today.
On the plus side, Sean Evans went 7 for 8 for 14 points with 5 rebounds. Mason had 7 rebounds and 2 nice blocks... along with his 3 turnovers, 1-7 shooting, and 6 points. Jeff Robinson hit for 16 for Seton Hall, hitting his first three-pointers of the season. But make no mistake about it - even with missed box outs and iffy defense in transition, any other team could have scored in the gaps Seton hall left. There were simply bad, rushed shooting performances all around.
Justin Burrell did have an awesome hammer dunk, taking his steps from just inside the 3-point line.
The Storm, which shot 33%, was showered with boos before the crowd headed for the exits early.
"It was a game we have to win no matter what, whether they're in the game or not. We really needed this game," SJU's Justin Burrell said. "I said I wouldn't blame our fans if they didn't come out to the game because we're not getting it done like we should be. They turned out and we did it again. We let them down."
The Pirates used a late 9-1 spurt to break open a bloody, gritty game and score a 59-50 win. They’ve earned the right to have this game moved to the Garden.
"It’s one of my favorite wins in my lifetime," said Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez, who two years ago criticized this metropolitan area rivalry being played here instead of the Garden.
Star-Ledger/ NJ.com: With Jeremy Hazell banged up, Seton Hall still defeats St. John's, 59-50
But with the Red Storm struggling from all spots on the floor — they shot 32.8 percent for the game — it was easy for Seton Hall’s defense to close in and suffocate St. John’s.
Which led to a frustrating night for Norm Roberts.
"Man up, just man up," the St. John’s coach said when asked about keeping up team morale after a sixth loss in nine games. "It’s life. Move on. Nobody died today. That’s it, it’s a basketball game. Move on. We see our mistakes and get better. That’s it."
My Central Jersey.com: Kings of Queens (with Seton Hall postgame quotes)
"We’re Seton Hall, we’re in the metropolitan area. Seton Hall and St. John’s are charter members, they’ve been in the league playing each other in the Garden for 30 years. I think that’s a special game. If we can’t get 6, 7000 in the Garden for that game, that’s tough. I know Cincinnati played them in the Garden this year, some other teams in the league played them in the Garden. And I just feel like, and I know Cincinnati has Lance Stephenson, but we’re Seton Hall, we beat Cincinnati so we should get in the Garden. To just to be on the big stage. To be on Broadway. It’s nothing against St. John’s." —Gonzalez on why he wants to play St. John’s at MSG not Carnesecca Arena.