Behind an explosive night from beyond the arc, #23 Seton Hall Pirates was able to fend off a valiant effort from the St. John’s Red Storm, pushing past the Johnnies 75-70 Sunday night in Newark.
In a game featuring many momentum swings, the Pirates were never really able to close to Red Storm out, despite St. John’s missing their two star guards, Marcus LoVett and Shamorie Ponds. Seton Hall’s early game struggles continued on New Year’s Eve as St. John’s jumped out of the gates to an early lead. The Johnnies came with competitive energy and held a nine-point lead 12 minutes in.
Despite the Pirates slow start, New York City natives Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington heated up, so did the entire team. Carrington had a game high 24 points while Rodriguez contributed 23. Sophomore Myles Powell opened the game shooting a perfect 4-4, including three long balls to rescue the Pirates from their early hole. Powell finished with 16.
In addition to the explosion of offense in the first half, the Pirates employed an effective 2-2-1 press to speed up the Red Storm on offense and force them into a few turnovers.
The Pirates went into the break up 43-33, and controlled the early parts of the second half, but were never able to put the Johnnies away until the final buzzer sounded.
Seton Hall led by as many as 15 points in the second half. But a Red Storm charge led by Tariq Owens, Marvin Clark II, and Justin Simon saw the Johnnies get as close as three points. When the game was a 65-62 in favor of Seton Hall, Head Coach Chris Mullin was assessed a technical for stepping on the court and arguing with an official. Mullin’s technical was one of two techs assessed to SJU on the day. The other was assessed to the team’s bench.
If you’re a believer in moral victories, then St. John’s can hold their heads high today. Without their starting backcourt, Tariq Owens stepped up in the front court and played one of his best game as a member of the Red Storm. The Maryland native had 19 points on eight of twelve shooting, including a few nice perimeter jump shots. Owens had 14 rebounds in total against one of the nation’s best in Angel Delgado, and contributed four blocks.
Delgado, the nation’s top rebounder, finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
For as strong as Seton Hall’s front court is, St. John’s chose to attack them. The team only took 18 shots from behind the arc, and actually outscored the Pirates in the paint, 30-16.
Justin Simon, the primary ball handler today with the team’s injuries, registered 18 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds. In addition to Simon and Owens, Bashir Ahmed and Marvin Clark also scored in double-figures. Ahmed finished with 16 and Clark with 18.
St. John’s now sits at 10-4, (0-2 Big East) while Seton Hall improves to 13-2, (2-0 Big East) on the year.
No timetable has been given yet for the return of Ponds of LoVett. St. John’s heads to America’s heartland next for a date with Creighton in Omaha. That game is set for Wednday January 3 and has an 8:00 pm tip off. The game will be televised on FS1. The Pirates will host Butler (who beat #1 Villanova yesterday) next Saturday at 2:30 pm. That game can also be seen on FS1.