When Seton Hall pulled away from St. John’s Dec. 31 in Newark, N.J. the outcome meant vastly different things for the two programs. The Pirates began an ascent, while the Red Storm continued digging a hole toward the bottom of the Big East standings.
Now, both teams are coming off notable wins for differing reasons heading into Wednesday night’s rematch in New York.
The Pirates (13-9, 6-5) dropped their first three conference games when they allowed an average of 75.7 points to Providence, Xavier and Marquette. Starting with its dominating showing in the 88-66 rout of St. John’s, Seton Hall has won six of eight and allowed 63.4 points per game in that span to move into fifth in the conference.
Seton Hall boasts the league’s top scoring defense (63.7 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (40.4 percent).
The Pirates held an opponent under 40 percent shooting for the 10th time this season and fourth time in a conference game when it rolled to a 70-49 win at Butler Saturday.
Seton Hall allowed 39.3 percent from the field while displaying a significantly improved showing from their 74-53 loss to Marquette the previous week.
“As a coach you want to win every game,” Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway said on his postgame radio interview. “Is that possible? Who knows. But when you defend you put yourself in that position, and anything can happen.”
Dre Davis scored 15 points off the bench in just 13 minutes. Late in the game, he suffered an ankle injury that could keep him from playing Wednesday.
After St. John’s (14-8, 4-7) got blown out in the first meeting, star center Joel Soriano said he felt the team quit. The loss to the Pirates was part of a five-game losing streak, but St. John’s enters Wednesday with three wins in its past five games.
On Sunday, the Red Storm avoided their third straight loss when they escaped with a 75-73 win at Madison Square Garden over last-place Georgetown. AJ Storr hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds remaining.
The shot saved the Red Storm from a third straight loss after ugly showings in a 57-49 home loss to Villanova on Jan. 20 and a 104-76 loss at Creighton a week ago.
“It’s going to take those kind of moments from different guys to put us into the position we want to be, to become the team we want to be,” St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said.
–Field Level Media