St. John’s holds off Seton Hall at MSG

NEW YORK CITY – In a battle for third place in the Big East Conference the St. John’s Red Storm took on the Seton Hall Pirates.  Both teams are coming off losses and a conference win would be a huge deal at this time of the season.  St. John’s is coming off one of the worst losses this season falling to Providence last week.  They would need to bounce back and that’s exactly what they did.  For the fourth time straight the Johnnies would capture a win following a loss.  They would outlast Seton Hall 78-70 in front of a packed Madison Square Garden crowd.  For St. John’s this win would most likely assure them a bid to the NCAA Tournament and they showed up big time.  When the ball is moving, players being vocal and shots are falling from behind the arc good things happen for St. John’s.  

St. John’s leader Shamorie Ponds breaks his four game dry spell to score 27 points and 5 assists versus Seton Hall at MSG. Photo by Cal Griffin of ATH

When the Johnnies gel on the court they look as good as any team in the country.  This game they made it priority number one to came out aggressive and put their foot on Seton Hall’s neck out of the gate.  On Senior night the energy at the Garden was electric.  Shamorie Ponds came out firing early and often.  He played with poise and let the game flow instead forcing the action.  Senior Marvin Clark II was honored before the game and with it being possibly his last game at MSG he came out inspired and scored 18 while connecting on 4 of 8 shots from 3 point range.  Justin Simon also contributed in the win by scoring 10 points and 5 boards. 

When we’re active on the defensive end, getting deflections and forcing turnovers and not turning the ball over… Good things happen.

St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin
St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin argues a call with the ref during their win over Seton Hall. Photo by Cal Griffin of ATH

Although Seton Hall never held a lead in the game there was a point In the second half that the Pirates looked like they were going to try to  snatch the win.  From 22 points down Myles Powell went into overdrive and with 2 minuets left he managed to bring his club to within 5 points.  The sea of red shirts the crowd went from a loud roar to radio silent as the Pirates made a last ditch effort to capture the lead.  Powell would score a Seton Hall High of 26 Points.  Shamorie Ponds would not let his team down and buried shot after shot in the final minutes and even put the nail if the coffin with a thunderous tomahawk slam as the clock expired.  He poured in a game high of 27 and dished our 5 Assists.

St. John’s forward Justin Simon flies to the rim during their win vs Seton Hall at MSG. Photo by Cal Griffin of ATH

With second leading scorer Mustafa Herron out (Tendinitis right knee, day-to-day) the Johnnies called on their star to break out of his four game slump.   He completely put to rest any talk about his confidence and health as he came out firing.  He also contributed 5 steals to the mix.  St. John’s won the game because they put forth maximum effort and did everything Seton Hall wouldn’t do.  The Johnnies forced Seton Hall into 22 turnovers and made of the most of their opportunities by capitalizing on those turnovers and scoring.  St. John’s scored 28 points off turnovers as opposed to Seton Hall who only scored 11.

Greg Williams Jr. tries to dunk over Seton Hall big man. He missed but this play would have brought the house down. Photo by Cal Griffin of ATH

St. John’s looks to keep this momentum leading up to the Big East Tournament. Teams are jockeying for position and they are going to need to finish strong to have the best chance to win it all. Their next 3 games are versus Xavier (2 games) and DePaul and quite frankly they should win both those games. They want to enter the tournament on a high note and whoever they face in the tournament will have to play a perfect game. The Red Storm are poised to make some noise in the postseason tournaments. Stay tuned.