The St. John’s Men’s Basketball fell to Seton Hall in overtime, 77-69, in the quarterfinal round of the BIG EAST Tournament on Thursday afternoon.
The fourth-seeded Red Storm (16-11) shot just 2-of-9 from the floor in overtime, including an 0-for-5 effort from three. On the game, St. John’s shot 32.9 percent from the floor and 24.0 percent (6-of-25) from beyond the arc.
First Team All-BIG EAST selection Julian Champagnie scored a team-high 16 points on 7-of-21 shooting and added nine rebounds. It marked his 25th game this season in 25 opportunities reaching double figures.
Redshirt senior Rasheem Dunn contributed 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and dished out a team-high three assists. Greg Williams Jr. and Marcellus Earlington added 12 points apiece. Earlington, who went 3-for-5 from downtown, also pulled down seven boards.
BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year Posh Alexander returned after missing two games with a hand injury. The Brooklyn native scored six points and recorded three steals.
Sandro Mamukelashvili and Jared Rhoden logged double-doubles to lead the Pirates (14-12). Mamukelashvili, one of three league-wide to share BIG EAST Player of the Year honors, had 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Rhoden finished with 19 points and 16 rebounds.
Seton Hall came out of the gate strong, starting 8-of-12 form the floor and 3-of-5 from three to take a 20-13 lead at the under-12 media timeout.
The Red Storm rattled off a brief run to pull within two, 22-20, on a Champagnie corner trey, but the Pirates responded with a 9-2 push to take their biggest lead of the half, 31-22, with 5:36 to go.
From there, the Pirates went more than five minutes without a point, as the Red Storm ripped off a 10-0 run to reclaim the lead, 32-31, on a transition bucket from Dunn with 49 ticks left in the period.
Ike Obiagu, who finished with seven blocks, broke the scoreless streak for Seton Hall with 19 seconds to go, giving the Pirates a one-point lead, 33-32, at the intermission.
With the game tied at 38, Seton Hall went on a 12-5 run to open up a seven-point lead, 50-43, near the midway mark of the second half.
With his team facing its largest deficit of the second stanza, Williams scored seven points on a 9-0 St. John’s run, putting the Red Storm ahead by a pair, 52-50, two minutes later.
Rhoden responded with a layup to tie the score at 52, the first of four ties down the stretch.
Trailing 60-57 with two minutes to go, Earlington drained a corner three to tie the game before a 1-for-2 trip to the line from Dunn put the Johnnies ahead 62-60 with just over a minute to play.
Myles Cale tied it for Seton Hall on the ensuing possession and the Pirates had a shot to win it in the closing seconds of regulation. The Red Storm promptly made not one, but two, stops on Mamukelashvili and sent the game into overtime.
Seton Hall took the lead on the first possession of overtime and never trailed again. Ahead by one, 65-64, with 3:30 to go, Seton Hall scored the game’s next five points to move ahead by six almost two minutes later.
Head Coach Mike Anderson
“First of all, congratulations to Seton Hall for advancing in the tournament. Obviously, it’s a different season. You could just tell how they came out, the sense of urgency you’ve got to play with this time of year. But they had more of it in the first half than we did. We were fortunate to be down one at halftime. But I thought we gathered ourselves, and the game went back and forth. Their rebounding, I think, was a big difference in this game. Of course, with rebounding, we foul them, now you put them on the free-throw line, and there’s a discrepancy where they had more free throws than we did. We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well. I just thought we were not quite in sync. We had some spurts there where our defense was really engaged. But when you don’t shoot the ball well — you look in the overtime we got the game to overtime with a stop there at the end. I don’t think we even make — I think we have two field goals in that time. 2-for-9, 0-for-5 from three-point land, and we had some good looks that didn’t go down. They were able to go down, cash in on the free-throw line. So, hats off to them. That’s some experience we can chalk up that our guys get a chance to learn about BIG EAST basketball.”
On what it was like being back at Madison Square Garden…
“It was great, but it was kind of unusual. When I walked in there, I said man, we’re back home. But when you go out and play, it’s just a different type of environment. But it was good to get back and see all the people here that make it such a great place for us. But again, you’re in the BIG EAST Tournament. You’ve got to be able to survive and advance. We didn’t. And the game was at their pace was, I thought for the most part. When we sped them up it tended to go in our favor. We had a bunch of shots that we didn’t knock down. But our defensive time was relaxed in the first half. I thought in the second half we were much, much better. But you’re right, it was a grind, is what it was. And this time of the year you’re just trying to find a way to win. But our guys have nothing to hold their heads down. They played against a very good Seton Hall team. We just played five days ago. Familiarity, we know who they are. If you look at what took place in the game, who are the guys who stepped up for them. Guys who have been in this tournament for many, many years, Sandro [Mamukaleshvili], [Jared] Rhoden and [Myles] Cale and of course obviously [Shavar] Reynolds runs the show. He never panics.”
On whether the team will go to the NIT if invited…
“We’ll continue to play. We will continue to play. I think these guys, right now the only thing on our mind right now is we just lost a game. So, our guys are hurting. We’ll get back to the hotel and kind of meet and see what our plans are. But if given the opportunity, I think it would be beneficial for this team here. It’s a new basketball team. And a lot of people, a lot of guys that are coming back.”
On the difference that Seton Hall’s experience made in the game…
“I thought it was. They never panicked. They had a calmness about them. And they made plays, they did. They got all the loose balls it seemed like. There were some shots that went up and all we had to do was come up with a rebound. Seemed like we just couldn’t get it. And Sandro [Mamukaleshvili], him posting up, obviously he draws a lot of attention. Sometimes they made the right play out of that trap. But no question about it. You can tell they’ve been there. That’s why I say the sense of urgency and just how they played going down the stretch.”
On if Isaih Moore would have made a difference in the game…
“Without a doubt. I think his versatility. What they did today was just clog the lane up, switched a lot, mixed their defense up. We did a good job of attacking. You have to have someone finish it. They ended up with ten blocked shots. I think his versatility, his grit, the basketball IQ, opens up the floor. Not only that, he’s one of our better rebounders as well.”
On Julian Champagnie’s tough shooting night…
“Just got to go through it. He played a lot of minutes. You think about that. I think he got tired. He had some great looks out there. He just couldn’t knock them down. Of course, their playbook is going to be to make him work for everything that he gets. And early on he was making shots for us, making plays for us. But it’s just one of those nights where it didn’t happen for him. Even, like I say, over time we’re down two, he has one of the greatest looks he normally catches going down the stretch. It just didn’t go in. You have some of those nights. But he’s had an unbelievable year. Great year, great young man. And we’ll just continue to get better.”
On Josh Roberts playing 11 minutes…
“Obviously with that team they were packing the lane. And they just — just got set in the lane. We had to draw them out so we could get some attacks to the basket. So, it’s just the way the game was going. Josh, I thought he played as hard as he can. And as hard as he could. He picked up some quick fouls, I think, in the second half. Got his third foul really quick early on.”
On whether he and Rasheem Dunn have spoken about next season…
“We’re in the season right here. We’re in this season. So no, we haven’t talked about it.”
St. John’s Guard Rasheem Dunn
On if he saw a difference in Seton Hall’s game from Saturday…
“That was a really good team, Sandro [Mamukelashvili], he stepped up big for his team and was a veteran, and did what senior support should do. I think we were right there, but we came up short, a lot of open shots we missed that we usually make but they just converted. We missed a lot of defensive assignments and they converted on that.”
On the team’s poor shooting night…
“I don’t think it had anything to do with the environment, some teams just have that type of night and tonight was that night for us. The shots that we have been making all year, we had good looks, open three’s and pull up’s but they just weren’t falling, and we couldn’t do anything about that. It was just that type of night for us.”
On the disappointment after the game…
“We were very disappointed, reason being is because off the court as a team we went through a lot of adversity together. I feel like this is a special group of kids and we all deserve to win, we all wanted to win, we had one goal and one mindset. It is very disappointing. We came and we just thought that we could have taken this whole thing, but things didn’t work out like that.”
On the impact of not having Isaih Moore and it being Posh Alexander’s first game back…
“I think not having Isaih [Moore] it kind of hurt us a bit, I say it kind of hurt us because Isaih [Moore] gave us a much length in size and post presence. Posh [Alexander’s] finger is kind of messed up, so it was him just getting back in the groove, with him not practicing for a while and missing the last two games. So, he kind of had to get himself back in the grove, this game here it was kind of tough like say he didn’t play two games and didn’t practice a lot. This team is going to be really special in the future.”
On whether it was a game that St. John’s lost rather than Seton Hall won…
“I would say this game is more so us. Don’t get it confused, Seton Hall is a very great team like I said previously their seniors stepped up [Sandro] Mamukelashvili, [Jared] Rhoden, he had a great game they kind of led them. But I would say it was more so on us, we didn’t get back to our identity, we usually get after teams and try to speed them up and let our defense go into offense, but tonight, I think we did it in one half instead of two halves.”
On Seton Hall pulling away late…
“I guess I can say they just wanted it more than us. It showed out there on the court and everybody watching the game, they just play hard. We were late on a lot of defensive assignments, so yeah, they just wanted it more than us.”
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