St. John’s gets its revenge on Seton Hall with 91-72 beatdown in Big East quarterfinals

St. John's Seton Hall Big East quarterfinals
RJ Luis Jr. (12) celebrates with his St. John’s teammates during the Red Storm’s 91-72 Big East quarterfinal win over Seton Hall on Thursday (Photo courtesy of St. John’s University)

Consider one pirate-sized demon exorcised for St. John’s.

The Red Storm is off to its first Big East Tournament semifinal since 2000, defeating a Seton Hall team that had beaten them twice during the regular season 91-72 on Thursday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

The win provides immeasurable help to the Johnnies’ (20-12) NCAA Tournament hopes. They ended the regular season with five straight wins after a miserable 2-8 stretch in Big East play — headlined by a Feb. 18 loss at UBS Arena to Seton Hall in which they blew a 19-point lead — to get back to the Big Dance’s bubble.

A loss would have put them at the mercy of the numerous bid-stealers emerging from the mid-major conference tournaments — a fate that now potentially belongs to Seton Hall. 

St. John’s managed to put together a strong effort despite not having their star All-Big-East 2nd-Team guard Daniss Jenkins for large portions of the afternoon due to foul trouble. He recorded 11 points in the win but played just 25 minutes. 

RJ Luis Jr. stepped up throughout Jenkins’ time on the bench, recording 18 points and nine rebounds while Jordan Dingle added 14 points. Joel Soriano, the lone holdover from the pre-Rick Pitino era, put up a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds. 

Soriano led the way for the Red Storm’s big day on the boards against a physical Seton Hall squad. It outrebounded the Pirates 38-28, which was just one major discrepancy that fueled the victory. 

The St. John’s bench outscored Seton Hall’s 37-7 while forcing 14 Pirates turnovers.

An 8-0 run midway through the first half laid the foundation for St. John’s to go into the half up five, capped off by a buzzer-beating jumper by Luis. 

Off that momentum, the Red Storm flew out of the gates in the second, outscoring Seton Hall 9-1 at the start to open up a 13-point lead, 54-41, with 16 minutes to go in the game.  

Jenkins, though, picked up his third foul — a block — with 15:48 to go meaning St. John’s had to go an extended stretch again without their star man.

But the Red Storm’s depth and defensive acumen kept working. After Seton Hall momentarily cut its deficit to seven, consecutive turnovers by Seton Hall midway through the half unraveled what they managed to chip at. A Dingle three-pointer with 9:04 to go put the Red Storm up 15 — all with Jenkins still on the bench. 

With Jenkins back on the floor, St. John’s managed to see out the win fairly comfortably, earning them a semifinal date with No. 1 UConn on Friday.

For more on St. John’s, visit AMNY.com