St. John's lost to Seton Hall in Newark, 78-67.
On the road, oddsmakers opened the game as even and St. John's was a one-point favorite by the time of the noontime tip off; it wasn't quite the deep upset some might make it out to be, and the Hall is a good team that was harder to prepare for.
St. John's was a low-turnover squad with a passable scoring day. But St. John's defense had a poor day. By the Four Factors numbers calculations:
|#17 St. John's||62||.475||13.0||35.1||.267||1.07|
Seton Hall won in all Four Factors of the game (effective field goal percentage, percentage of possessions ending in a turnover, percentage of missed shots rebounded/ offensive rebound percentage, free throws taken as a ratio of field goals attempted), adding up to a gaudy offensive rating.
St. John's defense had its worst overall performance of the year, giving up 1.28 points per possession. The team also forced the lowest percentage of per-possession turnovers this season at 14.6% - much of that in the second half, when the Red Storm ramped up the pressure and forced 6 turnovers (19% of Pirate possessions).
That scrambling on defense caused turnovers, but barely dented the Hall's overall offensive efficiency. Hitting 6/12 from outside the arc, SHU maintained a steady offensive pressure while St. John's shot 10/22 inside the arc, and 2/11 outside the arc.
And each of Seton Hall's second half baskets were assisted. It was a clinical finish by the Hall.
Steve Lavin said that Sterling Gibbs "picked his spots. He also executed well against our traps and found open teammates for three-balls and at the rim. I thought his playmaking and his poise in crunch time was the difference."
Gonzaga shot the ball almost as well in the NIT Season Tip Off, but the Red Storm were able to cause chaos on defense, especially late, drawing them closer to a win against the top-ten team - a moral victory, if you will.
The loss to Seton Hall is a cause for concern if only because the Johnnies could not disrupt the Pirates at all.
Without that chaos, St. John's was exposed slightly - a small bench, streaky scoring (which tends to be dependent on getting run outs), and a lack of size inside. The Johnnies gave up 13 offensive rebounds, almost 41% of the possible total. That kind of rebounding helps to lose games, giving the opponent chance after chance to score.
The Red Storm get back at it on Saturday against Butler at home in Carnesecca Arena at 4:00 PM, looking to right the things that went wrong on New Year's Eve and start the year with a W.