St. John’s lost to Seton Hall last night and the ending — it was... a bad referee call. The Johnnies gave up a lead that was between 9 and 11 for much of the half, then got the lead back on late game free throws from Mustapha Heron, and then... this...
Yes, the Johnnies tapped the ball back and got the steal with 3 seconds. Yes, the referree blew a whistle while Figueroa was in the air. No, it was not reviewable. Yes, Seton Hall inserted a fresh player who sank the winning three. Yes, lots of people are waking up still angry.
Reinhold Neibuhr’s serenity prayer is a good one to remember at this time. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can...”
A look at the Four Factors (effective field goal percentage, offensive rebounding percentage, turnover percentage and free throw rate), plus a look at the percentage of shots forced by the Johnnies in and out of the paint, point out a reality St. John’s fans must know to be true without Sedee Keita...
This team lacks bigs. And it’s a problem.
St. John’s outshot the Hall 50.9% to 45.3% in effective FG% (field goals with a multiplier to account for three-pointers made), forced turnovers on 21% of the Hall’s possessions (to 17% for the Johnnies, which is a bit high for them).
But the Red Storm allowed the Hall to get to 37% of their misses. Seton Hall had six more shots at the basket than the Red Storm did.
More to the point: per the box score, Seton Hall took 39 shots at the rim, making 20. St. John’s took 18 shots near the rim, making 11. Seton Hall took 61% of their shots at the rim — and 67% at the rim in the second half. The Pirates also took 18 free throws in a second half where the Red Storm led most of the way, to St. John’s 11 free throws attempted.
They executed well. Meanwhile, Shamorie Ponds took responsibility for the loss. And he was a major factor late. In the first half, he was a facilitator, a passer. But in the second half, in a streak of 10 straight misses for the Red Storm, Ponds missed five of those shots — often taking shots off the dribble in possessions where no other teammate touched the ball.
Ponds is dynamic, and can be explosive. But last night, he and the rest of the team faltered late.
It’s not all on Ponds.
The Johnnies as a team shot 2/11 from deep in the second half. In the first half, the Red Storm blistered the nets, shooting 7/14 — 50% — on shots behind the arc. The Hall tightened up late, played a more cohesive defense, and St. John’s could no longer move the ball around the arc and into the paint.
The starting five played most of the minutes, with Bryan Trimble Jr. logging nine to bleed two minutes each from Justin Simon and Mustapha Heron, a minute from Ponds, and to help cover Marvin Clark II’s foul trouble. Mikey Dixon and Greg Williams Jr. combined for three minutes.
Dead legs, perhaps? Did the staff trust their main crew more than the bench in a raucous road environment, one where the Johnnies have fallen time and time again?
Either way, St. John’s made one field goal in the last nine minutes and gave up a 12-point lead. Eight of the last 13 shots were three-pointers. Only one of those threes went in.
The team will have better days ahead, if they can bring the fire from the first half to the whole game.
Let’s not forget that this team, and the coaching staff’s plan, had Myles Powell and Myles Cale essentially non-factors for a half. That this team blasted the Hall for the half. That while the Johnnies missed their only two free throws at the worst time, they ONLY MISSED TWO FREE THROWS. That’s very normal.
Tuesday is another day.