St. John’s barely avoided a tough loss on Sunday against Georgetown with a dramatic last-second three. But the team hopes to build on the bounceback they needed to find late in the game, and get a chance against their bitter rivals, Seton Hall, at home in Queens.
On Sunday, the Johnnies had a chance to go up big in the first half, as they led 35-25, but they allowed a 14-0 Hoyas run to close the half. That said, the Johnnies won the game, and have another big opportunity tonight.
The status of starting guard Posh Alexander is unknown, but the team has found some scoring from wing AJ Storr to go along with the steady double-double work from center Joel Soriano.
Tonight, we will be reminded how Shaheen Holloway grew up in nearby Jamaica, just a bust transfer or a long walk from Carnesecca Area; and how many of Seton Hall’s players are from the five boroughs, or Elmont (like KC Ndefo).
Can the rest of the team step up and ruin Seton Hall’s “homecoming” evening?
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (14-8, 4-7 Big East) vs Seton Hall Pirates (13-9, 6-5 Big East)
When: Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 8:30 PM
Where: Carnesecca Arena, Queens, New York
TV: CBS Sports Network
Odds: Seton Hall -1
First Matchup: Seton Hall took the first matchup at home 88-66 because of a strong second half and a very inefficient Red Storm shooting performance.
Catching up with Both Teams
Recapping the First Matchup
The Johnnies led by as much as 10 early, and holding a lead until about three minutes were left in the first half. The Pirates went on a run to close the half, and the score at halftime was 42-37 Seton Hall.
The Pirates owned the second half while St. John’s really struggled to get anything going on offense, losing the second half 46-29, and losing the game 88-66.
As a team, Seton Hall shot more efficiently than the Red Storm, with a field goal/three point/free throw shooting split of 54/37/75, compared to the Johnnies’ marks of 41/22/55.
Individually, the Pirates offense was powered by four players. Guard Al-Amir Dawes led the team in scoring with 22 points, while his backcourt mate Kadary Richmond contributed a monster performance, as he had 19 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Big man Tyrese Samuel had a solid game with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals. Guard Dre Davis was Seton Hall’s best player off the bench, scoring 14 points and grabbing 4 boards.
As per usual, Joel Soriano was the Red Storm’s best player against Seton Hall, but his 23 points and 11 rebounds were not enough for a Johnnies victory. David Jones and Andre Curbelo each finished in double figures off the bench, scoring 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Red Storm’s starting backcourt of Posh Alexander, Dylan Addae-Wusu, and Montez Mathis really struggled offensively, combining for 12 points on 5-24 from the field and 1-9 from deep.
Seton Hall Since the First Matchup
For the full Seton Hall scouting report, check out our first preview. The Pirates have been very good since taking down the Johnnies — 5-2 since then. They had a couple rough losses in the form of Creighton on the road and Marquette at home. They beat the worst three Big East teams on the road in Georgetown, DePaul, and Butler, and won home games against Butler and UConn.
Seton Hall thrives on defense and forcing opponents to be inefficient. The Pirates are top 40 in the country in opponent field goal percentage and top 15 in opponent three point percentage. In their last seven games, Seton Hall’s opponents have shot 40.3% from the field and 30.3% from deep. In conference, the Hall has the league’s second-best defense.
Offensively, however, Seton Hall struggles to score at times, is poor from the free throw line (but solidly better than St. John’s is at the line), and misses a decent number of threes. Guard Dre Davis sprained his ankle during the game against Butler and is a game-time decision for the Hall; the 6’6” wing is one the Pirates’ most efficient shooters from beyond the arc and the free throw line.
St. John’s has struggled all season with being efficient on offense; they will want this game to be a hard-fought rock fight.
St. John’s Since the First Matchup
The Johnnies have struggled since the loss going 3-4 in the seven games they’ve played since then. Losing to the Pirates was the third loss of a five-game losing streak; after playing Seton Hall they lost to Marquette at home and Providence on the road. They then won a couple games over Butler at home and UConn on the road, but followed those wins up with losses to Nova at home and Creighton on the road. Their most recent game was their shaky home win over Georgetown.
St. John’s has had to deal with some injuries since they last played the Pirates, with Montez Mathis going out for the season, and Posh Alexander and Rafael Pinzon each missing multiple games. AJ Storr has stepped up as of late, and looks comfortable creating on the floor. Guard Kolby King has looked like a dogged defender at the point, as well.
Keys to the Game
Be the tougher team. If St. John’s is unable to beat teams with a good game plan and an efficient offense, they will need to win the toughness battle to win tonight. This means being tougher than Seton Hall is on toughness, winning battles on the glass, and not rolling over if the Pirates look primed for a run.
Start the Second Half. There have been many a game this season, including the recent win over Georgetown and the earlier loss to Seton Hall, where the Red Storm came out very flat to start the second half and had to try to make up for their poor play later in the game. This is something they cannot do tomorrow, as they need an energetic start to the second half that they continue for the rest of the game.
Force turnovers. Seton Hall is top 50 in the country in turnovers per game, which is something the Red Storm need to take advantage of and convert into transition buckets.
The Johnnies grind out a 64-59 win.