NEWARK — If it’s darkest before dawn, then St. John’s can’t wait to wake up from this nightmare of a season. If there’s one thing Chris Mullin has been able to count on from his inexperienced crew as the losses pile up, it was effort, but even that gave way to despair in a 79-60 blowout loss to Seton Hall Wednesday night at Prudential Center.
The Pirates went on a 15-3 run early to start the second half and run their lead to 49-29 as Angel Delgado, in particular, made repeated trips to the rim without much opposition. By the halfway mark of the second half, Mullin had inserted little-used freshman Elijah Holifield and walk-on freshman Abdul Dial as a reminder to his players not to surrender to the hardships they have faced as their losing streak has grown to 11 games.
Seton Hall (14-6, 4-4 Big East) got 15 points and 17 rebounds from the 6-9, 245-pound Delgado, who was too much for the Red Storm to handle in the paint, where they were outscored 44-22 by the Pirates. Isaiah Whitehead added 19 points for the Hall, and Khadeen Carrington had 11. Christian Jones had 15 points for St. John’s (7-14, 0-8), which shot 28.7 percent from the field and was outrebounded 55-40.
St. John’s arrived carrying the burden of a school-record 10-game losing streak, but the Pirates were coming off four losses in their previous five games. So, it wasn’t surprising the game was an ugly one early with the two teams combining for nine turnovers within the first four minutes.
It was 10-all when two baskets by Christian Jones sparked an 8-0 Red Storm surge for an 18-10 lead with 10:07 left. But St. John’s well ran dry right there as Kassoum Yakwe sat down with his second foul with 9:19 left in the half, and without his shotblocking presence to worry about, the bigger Pirates began to attack the rim and outscore the Red Storm 24-8 for a 34-26 halftime lead. Whitehead had eight points in the stretch, and Desi Rodriguez added six.
St. John’s shot an abysmal 27 percent from the field (10 of 37), was outrebounded 29-23 and was outscored in the paint 20-10. It only got worse from there for the Red Storm.