St. John’s looks to win their last game of the regular season as Seton Hall travels to Carnesecca Arena tonight. This is a big leadup game for both teams to the Big East Tournament, which starts next Wednesday.
This game is obviously a must win for St. John’s, as a win would secure their first round bye in the Big East Tournament. They are currently sitting in 5th place, the last seed that would earn them a bye, and are one game behind the 4th place Pirates. This game could very well be a preview for the Big East Tournament, as the teams would play each other on the second day of the tournament if they are the 4th and 5th seeds. Both teams also want to win this game to strengthen their NCAA Tournament bids, as they each have a shot of making it to the Big Dance.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (15-10, 9-9 Big East) vs Seton Hall Pirates (13-11, 10-8 Big East)
When: Saturday, March 6, 2021, 7:00 PM
Where: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, NY (no fans)
TV: FS1 | FoxSports Online
Radio: 570 AM | TuneIn Radio
Recapping the first matchup with Seton Hall
The first matchup was the conference opener for both teams, which ended with Seton Hall winning 77-68 at home on December 11.
In the first game, two of the best players in the Big East showcased their talents, as Sandro Mamukelashvili had 32 points and nine rebounds, and Julian Champagnie had 24 points and six rebounds. Mamukelashvili was unstoppable during that game (though Dylan Addae-Wusu had some success slowing him down later in the game) and he was a main reason why Seton Hall won.
Another reason for the Seton Hall victory in the first matchup was a poor shooting and rebounding performance from the Johnnies, who shot 44% from the field, 19% from deep, and 60% from the line, compared to the 47/29/71 slashline posted by the Pirates. Seton Hall outworked the Red Storm on the glass, winning the overall rebound battle 41-32. The Hall got a star turn from their star player and looked the better team throughout, as St. John’s was chasing the whole game.
St. Johns since the first matchup and their recent trends
Since the first matchup with Seton Hall, St. John’s has played all their other conference games, plus an easy win over Utah Valley, so their record is 10-8 since the matchup.
The Red Storm followed up a rough 1-5 start to conference play by winning seven of their next eight games, figuring out how to balance negative and positive runs. Their runs are often dictated by their shooting and defense; when they are able to knock down shots and disrupt their opponents, they look like a really good team and are able to go on runs. St. John’s is also capable of looking really bad when they are exclusively shooting jump shots and the shots aren’t falling, and when defense cannot keep opponents from scoring at the rim.
Recently, St. John’s has been inconsistent, with solid wins against Providence and Xavier, but bad losses to Butler, DePaul and Villanova.
A major key to the Red Storm’s success is their best player Julian Champagnie, who leads the conference in scoring. When he is playing well, he is very hard to guard offensively. His shot is smooth and sets up an ability to drive and to draw fouls — where he has been one of the best free throw shooters in the Big East. The Johnnies will need him to carry the offensive load, despite the attention he will receive, as he does every game in order to get past Seton Hall.
Another recent key to Red Storm success has been Rasheem Dunn, the team’s only senior who will be playing in his senior night against Seton Hall. With Posh Alexander missing the last game with a hand injury, Dunn will need to provide the Johnnies with important veteran presence and energy on both sides of the floor. Dunn has had his two best performances of the season, scoring 17 and 21 points, in recent wins. Crucial to the team’s success, look for the senior to ball out on his senior night.
Besides Dunn and Champagnie, the rest of the Johnnies need to shoot well and play strong defense, especially inside where Seton Hall has a size advantage. Greg Williams has his first double-digit scoring game in a month and a half, and Isaih Moore continued to make an impact. But the role players need to step up in a tight game where the little efforts and execution will count. . Posh Alexander coming back from his thumb injury would also be a big plus for St. John’s.
Seton Hall since the first matchup and their recent trends
Since their first game against St. John’s, Seton Hall has gone 9-8 all against Big East opponents, and has also been a team of runs. This includes the team’s most recent run, a three-game losing streak, and the four-game winning streak that took place directly before the losing streak. Their most recent 3 losses have hurt the Pirate’s NCAA Tournament chances, so a road win against St. John’s would be a huge bounce back opportunity for them.
Sandro Mamukelashvili, second in the Big East in scoring after Champagnie, is the main player that the Johnnies have to control if they want to win tonight. In their past 3 losses, Seton Hall has only averaged 62 points, which is another factor both teams must focus on.
Seton Hall can win a low-scoring game, but would like to be more efficient; their three-point shooting has been under 31% in each off the last five games. St. John’s prefers the pace and scores to be higher, but will find getting to the rim harder against the dedicated Seton Hall defense. The size of center Ike Obiagu coupled with the 6’11” Mamukelashvili and the 6’6” wings Jared Rhoden and Myles Cale are imposing height to work against.
The Red Storm need to use their strong defense to shut down Mamukelashvili and the Pirates’ offense in order to win, while Seton Hall will have to find a way to break out of their recent offensive slump and score the ball if they want to win.
St. John’s is able to grind out a 72-65 win in their last game of the regular season.