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St. John’s loses to Seton Hall on controversial call at the buzzer, 76-74

St. John’s loses in heartbreaking fashion for their first loss of the season.

Wendell Cruz

So, here’s what happened.

St. John’s lost, partly because of missed free throws late, party because of a stagnant offense, partly because Seton Hall’s role players stepped up to keep the game close.

But most notable about the ending is that the referees made a mistake, thinking the Red Storm had stepped on a line (or something), when they had corralled the ball with three seconds left. That mistake gave away a steal that would have sealed the win for the road team.

Instead, Seton Hall’s Shavar Reynolds got the shot off a pass from Sandro Mamukelashvili, nailed a three with just moments to spare from the right wing, and the Pirates win.

The Johnnies are now defeated, once (12-1 on the season), with a game with Marquette looming on New Year’s Day, and a bitter taste in their mouths in the Big East opener for both teams.

Seton hall has Xavier in Cincinnati on January 2nd and improve to 10-3.

First Half

St. John’s at Seton Hall featured two of the Big East’s leaders in points, Myles Powell (Second with 23.1 PPG) and Shamorie Ponds (Fourth with 19.6 PPG). In the first half, the two scorers did little scoring.

Powell finished the first half better than he started, finishing the half with 7 points (2/6 FG, 1/3 3PT) and 3 turnovers. At times, Powell did not thrive against St. John’s aggressive perimeter defense.

For stretches, St. John’s traded easy looks at the basket for gambling defense on Seton Hall’s ball-handlers, and for the most part, it paid off. Seton Hall finished the half with 10 turnovers to St. John’s 6, however at the cost of Seton Hall scoring 22 points in the paint, powered by Michael Nzei, the force that kept the Hall close in the half with nine points.

Notably, St. John’s finished with 18 points off those turnovers, whereas Seton Hall only converted their turnovers into 3 points.

Ponds did not score in the first half (0/4 FG), but managed to impact the game in other ways. Ponds finished the half with 6 assists and a pair of boards.

Mustapha Heron was a large beneficiary of Ponds’s play-making, scoring 15 first-half points (5-9 FG, 4/7 3PT), leading the Red Storm to a 45-36 lead going into the Half.

Second Half

Early in the second Half, both teams effectively stayed the course. Neither Ponds nor Powell scored for the first 9 minutes, until Powell laid one in. Ponds knocked down a Three soon thereafter.

Seton Hall kept it a three-or-four possession game for a majority of the first half, but Ponds and Justin Simon proved to be too much for the Pirates for most of the second Half.

Despite Ponds’s and Simon’s success, the Pirates found a way to cut the lead to 3 with less than 5 minutes remaining.

Shamorie Ponds, attempting to take over the game, was wide on a number of shots. The Johnnies ball movement slowed, the transition opportunities were not longer there against a composed Seton Hall defense.

Powell threw down a dunk after beating the Johnnies down the court after a badly-missed Ponds layup, and both Sandro Mamukelashvili and Powell knocked down a pair of free throws.

As the Prudential Center roared back to life, Mamukelashvili knocked down a 3 to tie the game with less than 4 minutes left.

When the scored was tied, the redshirt senior Marvin Clark II did what seniors are supposed to do — knock down big shots. Clark drained a 3 to regain the lead for the Red Storm with under 2 minutes to go. But Clark then did what a senior is not supposed to do — commit an offensive foul on a screen, fouling out of the game.

Seton Hall’s Quincy McKnight drained a midrange jumper to cut the lead to 1 and Powell followed with a layup to gain the first lead of the game.

Heron forced his way back to line, fouling out Myles Cale, and coolly hit both to put the Red Storm back up 1.


Heron and Ponds missed the front-end of 1-and-1’s to seal the victory in that tense last minute of the game.

Myles Powell tried a layup, and was blocked by LJ Figueroa. The Pirates had the inbound and — look, what happens next doesn’t exist in the box score. But our lying eyes say that Figueroa deflected the inbounds pass, tapped the ball back to Heron, who was waiting for the foul to come from the Hall.

But the referees blew a whistle, indicating that the call on the floor was that the ball went out on St. John’s — or something — and that the Hall had one more chance to inbound the ball.

Missed free throws, stagnant late offense, and a 10-0 run from the Hall might have won this game. But there is no chance the Hall actually has the win if the referees do not make that crucial mistake.

Anyway, Seton Hall’s Shavar Reynolds’s shot goes in just before the buzzer sounds, and Seton Hall wins, 76-74.

Life goes on.

St. John’s Red Storm

Mustapha Heron: 19 Points (5/11 FG, 5/7 3PT), 3 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 3 Turnovers

Justin Simon: 16 Points (6/13 FG), 3 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 1 Turnover

Marvin Clark II: 16 Points (5/7 FG, 3/5 3PT), 5 Rebounds, 4 Turnovers

Shamorie Ponds: 8 Points (2/13 FG, 1/6 3PT), 6 Rebounds, 7 Assists, 5 Turnovers

Seton Hall Pirates

Myles Powell: 15 Points (5/15 FG, 1/4 3PT), 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 5 Turnovers

Quincy McKnight: 14 Points (5/11 FG, 1/2 3PT), 4 Rebounds, 4 Assists

Sandro Mamukelashvili: 14 Points (5/8 FG, 1/4 3Pt), 8 Rebounds, 4 Assists

Michael Nzei: 14 Points (6/12 FG), 10 Rebounds, 2 Blocks

Shavar Reynolds: 8 Points (2/3 FG, 1/2 3PT), 3 Rebounds