The St. John’s Redmen (19-11, 11-7) failed to reach the 20-win plateau for the first since in eight years when they were shocked by the Seton Hall Pirates (13-17, 7-11) 84-70 in front of a crowd of 9,470 at the Prudential Center last night. The Redmen scored the first 7 points of the game, but the Pirates adjusted to the defensive pressure of the Redmen and tied the game at 7-7 with 14:29 on a jumper by Junior guard Jordan Theodore, and took a 34-30 lead into the half.
The Redmen would take a 4-point lead in the second half on a 4-point play by Justin Brownlee, 53-49, but a 9-2 run by the Pirates would give them a 58-55 lead. Dwight Hardy would tie the game for the fourth and final time with a lay-up with 8:05 left in the second half at 59, but the Pirates would go on a 25-11 run to close out the game for an 84-70 win.
The game got physical toward the end, with D.J. Kennedy and Patrik Auda needing to be separated by officials, followed by the ejection of St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin with 1:55 left in the second half. Justin Burrell was assessed a flagrant foul with 7 seconds left in the game and was ejected.
Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard was thrilled with the win. “I knew if we handled the pressure he could get some good looks” Willard said of Senior guard Jeremy Hazell, who scored a season-high 31 points on 9-14 from both the field and the free-throw line, with 4 rebounds and 3 assists.
“Coming in we knew we were playing the Johnnies and we knew it was going to be a metropolitan area rivalry so we just wanted to come out with the win so we could be the big-time guys in the metropolitan area” Hazell said after the game.
St. John’s head coach Lavin was simplistic with his explanation of the game, saying “Seton Hall took us to the woodshed and waxed us” several times during the post game press conference. “I want to commend Seton Hall. They were able to play with poise and composure.” On the ejection, Lavin said “I was probably too animated in my on-court demeanor and discourse.”
Seton Hall came into the game shooting a Big East worse 28% from three-point range, but went 12-18 (67%) last night.
Hardy led the Redmen with 23 points on 9-21 shooting, and Brownlee scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, but shot only 2-10 from the field. Kennedy scored 11 points.
Freshman guard Fuquan Edwin scored a season-high 19 points on 7-10 from the field, including 5-6 from three, Theodore scored 14 points for the Pirates. Jeff Robinson scored 10 points.
Seton Hall hosts Marquette Saturday at 6pm. St. John’s hosts University of South Florida at 8pm Saturday.