In their first conference game, St. John's wasn't the same team everyone has seen for the past two months and that's because they ran into a very good team in their second true road test. The Johnnies didn't look sharp offensively and they looked completely disjointed on the defensive side of the ball.
"You could tell we weren't (mentally ready) because we didn't execute our game plan," D`Angelo Harrison said.
Despite not playing their best, they controlled the game for most of the first half until Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina took over. From the last two minutes of the first half until the end of the game those two were white hot and it sparked a routy crowd at the Prudential Center.
"We let them do things they wanted to do," Harrison said. "We didn't play St. John's basketball today and that's why we lost.
Gibbs had one of his best performances as a member of the Pirates, 25 points, 8 assists, 0 turnovers, and Steve Lavin had high praise after the game for the junior point guard.
"Sterling Gibbs had one of the better performances any player has had against St. John's in recent years," Lavin said. "He exhibited great poise and he was in the zone."
On top of the flawless play of the Pirates, Sir`Dominic Pointer did not play a very good game at both ends of the court. He barely touched the ball on offense and was unable to get his usual bulk of steals that normally leads to easy transition baskets for the Johnnies.
"He's our catalyst on both ends of the floor," Coach Lavin said. "He never found his offense and didn't have the normal pep in his step."
With a top 15 ranking and expectations soaring high throughout Queens, the Johnnies knew their performance against Seton Hall wasn't their best nor will it get the job done against most Big East teams. The conference is much improved this year and the team realizes that they must play much better if they want to finish atop the standings in March.
"The Big East is a lot better this year so we have to come out and execute our game plan and if we don't we're going to lose," D'Angelo Harrison said. "That's how good the Big East is."
The Johnnies will look back on this game as one that will help them improve for the coming weeks. It's not easy to win on the road in this league, especially this season, so they cannot be completely down on the loss to a very legit Seton Hall team. The most important thing for the Red Storm is bouncing back Saturday at home against Butler. They got off to a slow start in conference play last year and another slow start is not something that will help their tournament resume. The potential of this team is not going away.
"I think they are a top ten team from watching them play," Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard said. "They are going to go far this year."