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St. John’s Men’s Basketball Falls to Seton Hall, 66-60

The St. John’s Men’s Basketball team suffered its first home loss of BIG EAST play on Saturday, falling to Seton Hall, 66-60, at Madison Square Garden.

The Red Storm (10-7, 2-4 BIG EAST) shot a season-low 29.3 percent from the floor, including a 5-for-19 (26.3%) effort from three and a 25.7 percent success rate on layups (9-for-35).  Ike Obiagu, the BIG EAST’s leading shot blocker, tallied seven rejections for Seton Hall (12-5, 3-4 BIG EAST).

Graduate student Aaron Wheeler led the way with 13 points, his fifth straight game in double figures after reaching that mark just once in non-conference play.

Posh Alexander tallied 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals.

Julian Champagnie failed to reach double figures for the first time since the opening game of the 2020 BIG EAST Tournament, snapping a streak of 40-straight outings with 10 or more points.  The junior scored nine points and grabbed three boards, becoming the 46th player in program history to record 500 career rebounds.

Joel Soriano pulled down a season-high 14 rebounds in addition to scoring seven points.  As a team, St. John’s was outrebounded, 60-43. 

Montez Mathis finished with nine points for the Red Storm, whose starting five combined to go 13-for-56 (23.2%) from the field.

St. John’s began the game with an 8-0 run, as Seton Hall missed its first eight shots from the field. The Pirates responded with a 10-0 spurt, holding the Johnnies scoreless for 4:55.

The Red Storm climbed ahead 17-12 before a missed layup kickstarted a 7-0 Seton Hall run to regain the lead. 

The two teams traded blows for the rest of the period before entering the locker room tied at 28.

Seton Hall opened the second half with an 11-4 run, pulling ahead by seven, 39-32, with three and a half minutes gone in the period. 

The Pirates moved ahead by as many as nine, 46-37, before a 7-0 St. John’s spurt pulled the Red Storm back within two, 46-44, with 11:02 to play.  Wheeler and Dylan Addae-Wusu started the run with layups before Champagnie capped it with a triple.

Ahead 48-46 with 9:35 to play, Seton Hall rattled off six straight, holding St. John’s scoreless for three minutes and pulling back on top by eight. 

St. John’s would not go away, clawing within four on three separate occasions during the stretch, but the Johnnies could not close the gap.

The Johnnies and Pirates will meet again in South Orange on Monday in the first BIG EAST game at Walsh Gymnasium since 1985.  Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. on FS1.

Quotes:

St. John’s Head Coach Mike Anderson

Opening statement…

“I think in any game if you don’t shoot the ball well, [we shot] 29 percent from the field, and get outrebounded your chances of winning are going to be slim. That being said, there was an opportunity for us to [win]. Even with 54 seconds left, we converted a lay-up and cut it to four. Give Seton Hall credit, I thought they played with a lot of guts. … We missed a lot of lay-ups that would’ve given us an opportunity. If you can’t score you can’t get into your defense. I thought our defense was decent enough, but you got to have the offense to go with it. I was proud of the effort of Joel [Soriano], coming off the game he just had. I thought he played well for us. Aaron [Wheeler] continues to play at a high level. Again, they’re a good basketball team, we feel were a good basketball team but we didn’t put that on display today. I’m proud of the fans that came out and supported [us]. This team has a quick turnaround and we have to get ready for Seton Hall at their place.”

On the areas the team can improve…

We have to continue to work, grind and get better. We need to clean up the little things. Free-throws, lay-ups and rebounding has been our Achilles [heel]. Some of that falls on me, I have to find out the right combination of guys that can put us in a position to win.”

On a quick turnaround playing at Seton Hall on Monday night…

“It’s a quick turnaround. [We have to] have a short-term memory going into their place. In tournament play [teams have another game this quickly], but you play different teams you never play the same team. … We’ll be ready.”

On how he’s looking for players to step-up…

We have to have someone that can come in and absorb some of the pressure. We need somebody to absorb the pressure and knock shots down. We need to get to the free-throw line, we got there today and didn’t cash in it.”

On what they need to change offensively…

“One thing I have always prided our team on is that we have multiple options out there. Right now, those options are not doing what they are capable of. … It has to be a combination of guys.”

Graduate student forward Aaron Wheeler

On his thoughts on the team’s performance…

“We fought until the end, but at the end of the day it came to down to makes and misses. We missed a lot of shots, a lot of easy buckets. We gave ourselves a chance to win, we were in position we just have to step-up and make shots. I’m proud of the guys, we fought to the end, we didn’t put our heads down and [we] stuck together. We definitely have to figure it out, that obviously isn’t good enough.”

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