In a gritty contest, St. John’s was only able to keep it close with Seton Hall, 66-60.
Both teams were fighting to stay out of the bottom four in the Big East, and both teams were coming off a loss. This contest and the rematch scheduled for Monday, January 24 at Seton Hall are important for both teams if they still hope to avoid playing on the first day of the Big East Tournament.
The first half was largely ugly from both teams, aside from the first five minutes or so. St. John’s opened the game on an 8-0 run powered by Montez Mathis who scored half of those points.
However, as they have all to often this year, the Red Storm offense went silent allowing their opponent to go on a run of their own. As such, Seton Hall responded with a 10-0 run of their own.
The ugly basketball that ensued was due, at least in part, to Seton Hall’s Ike Obiagu. During the stretches where St. John’s attacked the basket, Obiagu was there to alter and block shots. Even with Obiagu ending the half scoreless, his 6 rebounds and 4 blocks made him the most impactful Pirate in the first half.
Part of the problem for the Red Storm was, again, their free throws. The Johnnies only attempted two free throws in the first half. However, the lack of free throw attempts was not due to a lack of effort, as St. John’s aggressively drove into the paint. The issue was these drives were straight into Obiagu, who was in prime help-side position.
Usually when an opposing big plays well, St. John’s struggles to stay in the game. Joel Soriano played well in preventing Obiagu from taking over the game. Soriano defended well and finished the half with 4 points (2/4 FG) and 9 rebounds.
Despite the streakiness of St. John’s offense today, the ball was moving pretty well when the offense was at its best. On the Red Storm’s 12 made field goals, 8 of them were assisted with Posh Alexander and Montez Mathis having 2 assists apiece.
Tray Jackson knocked down a clean three at the buzzer to tie the game up at 28-28.
Seton Hall began pulling away in the second half. A flush by Alexis Yetna shifted some momentum and helped Seton Hall get a four-point lead that seemed insurmountable for most of the half.
St. John’s was able to get any closer than four for any significant stretches. Nobody on the Red Storm scored enough to just Seton Hall’s trying to stop anyone besides Julian Champagnie. As a result, Champagnie could not get going offensively. The fringe-NBA Draft prospect finished the game with 9 points (3/14 FG, 1/5 3PT).
Despite holding Seton Hall without a field goal for nearly the final six minutes of the game, St. John’s was unable to overcome the poor shooting night and fell to Seton Hall, 66-60. The Johnnies will get another shot against the Pirates on Monday at Seton Hall.
St. John’s Red Storm
Aaron Wheeler: 13 Points (6/13 FG, 1/4 3PT), 7 Rebounds, 3 Assists
Posh Alexander: 10 Points (3/11 FG), 4 Rebounds, 5 Assists
Montez Mathis: 9 Points (3/12 FG, 1/3 3PT), 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists
Seton Hall Pirates
Myles Cale: 21 Points (7/14 FG, 2/4 3PT), 9 Rebounds, 2 Assists
Alexis Yetna: 16 Points (6/12 FG, 0/3 3PT), 15 Rebounds