When the St. John’s Red Storm look back on Saturday’s game, they’ll relish the chances they let slip away to the Seton Hall Pirates. The Red Storm fell 66-60 to the Pirates at Madison Square Garden and lost for the fourth time in their last five games.
St. John’s couldn’t close the gap late, including in the final minute when Aaron Wheeler cut the Seton Hall lead to 60-56 and then Dylan Addae-Wusu stole the inbounding attempt. The Johnnies missed two straight layups and the Pirates knocked down two free throws to extend the lead to six.
“Give Seton Hall credit I thought they played with a lot of guts coming up with a lot of big second shots there in the second half,” St. John’s head coach Mike Anderson said. “We missed a lot of layups, a lot of layups. They gave us an opportunity, so when you don’t score you can’t give them to your defense. I thought our defense was decent enough, but you have to have the offense to go with it.”
The Red storm shot 22-of-75 (29.3%) from the field and 5-of-19 (26.3%) from three-point range. St. John’s star forward Julian Champagnie was held to just 9 points on 3-of-14 shooting from the floor, which snapped a 40 game double-digit scoring streak for Chaampaagnie.
St. John’s was outrebounded 60-43 and led the game for just 10:24.
Wheeler finished the game with 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field for St. John’s He added 7 assists, 3 assists and 3 blocks in the loss. Montez Mathis added 10 points of his own, along with 4 assists and 2 rebounds.
“Just staying focused and staying to the game plan,” Seton Hall guard Myles Cale said about his team’s defensive effort. “Our coaches did a phenomenal job just breaking it down and telling us what we needed to do. All we did was go out there and execute. Listen to the coaches and we ended up with a good win.”
Cale said he watched a lot of the game St. John’s played against Craighton in preparation for guarding Champagnie. “He uses his size for his ability, so I just had to hold my ground a little bit more and he’s not going off screens as much as other guys,” Cale said.
Saturday was another frustrating loss for the Red Storm, who dropped their sixth straight game against a Quad One opponent this season. They have gone 0-6 against Quade One opponents this year, will have another chance to end that stretch on Monday when they face Seton hall again.
The loss also knocked St. John’s to 2-4 in Big East play,
“I think we still continue to be a work in progress,” Anderson said. “You always want the pieces to come together. They’re not and for some reason, we just seem to hit that way. We can’t get over the hump. We just have to continue to work and grind, and just try to get better. Just clean up some of the little things. Free throws, layups and rebounds that’s been our Achilles. Some of that falls on me, I just have to find the right combination of getting guys out there that can put us in a position to have a chance to win.”
St. John’s started the afternoon with eight consecutive points to jump to an early 8-0 lead, which included a pair of buckets from Mathis. Seton Hall countered with a run of their own and tied the game at eight with 14:13 left in the half off a three-point play from Long Island native Jared Rhoden
The First half ended with the game tied at 28. Tray Jackson knocked down a three at the buzzer to pull the Pirates even with the Red Storm.
It capped a first half that was wasn’t pretty for either Big East Team and one that looked like the Red Strom would end with the lead after going on a 7-4 run late.