|Seton Hall celebrates at center court after the final whistle. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Seton Hall notched their 20th victory of the season as they outlasted St. John's 81-74 on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
20 wins usually is the magic number for an NCAA Tournament bid, and the Pirates are now 20-9 overall and 9-7 in the Big East, tying them with Butler for third in the conference.
St. John's has now dropped two straight after their magical four-game winning streak. They drop to 14-15 overall and 3-13 in the Big East, now in last place in the conference since DePaul beat Marquette on Saturday afternoon to improve their record to 4-12.
Seton Hall was led by Khadeen Carrington, who had 22 points on 7-16 from the field and 2-5 on three-pointers, with eight rebounds, six assists, and a steal.
Angel Delgado got another double-double, the 70th of his career and 20th on the season, as he had 14 rebounds on a superb 7-9 from the field and 13 rebounds. He suffered an apparent knee injury with 8:04 left in the second half when he missed a layup. It turned out not to be too serious and he was back a couple minutes later.
Myles Powell came close to a double-double of his own, as he had 18 points (5-17 FG, 1-11 on threes), eight rebounds, and six assists.
Myles Cale, who started in place of the injured Desi Rodriguez, had 10 points on 4-6 shooting, including a three, and two rebounds. Ismael Sanogo also had 10 points on 5-7 from the field, six rebounds, and an assist.
St. John's was led by Shamorie Ponds, who finished with 25 points. Just as it was Wednesday night at Marquette, he had a nice points total, but was kept in check as he shot 9-22 from the field and was 0-6 from behind the arc, with six assists, two rebounds, and two steals, as well as committing three turnovers.
Marvin Clark II had a double-double with 19 points on 8-12 from the field and 3-5 on threes, and 10 rebounds. He also had three steals and three turnovers.
This game was a very even battle, with seven lead changes and the score tied 15 times.
Seton Hall got the edge in the first half, powered by 12 points from Carrington and 10 from Delgado to take a 38-34 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Pirates opened up a 63-58 lead on a Cale layup with 6:13 remaining.
Cale then basically gave it back as he fouled Ponds on a three-point attempt and Ponds drained all three free throws to make it 63-61.
Seton Hall made it a four-point game, 67-63 on a Powell jumper with 2:41 left.
St, John's came right back, as Clark drained a three right after that, and eventually tied it at 68 on a Ponds layup with 51 seconds left.
On Seton Hall's ensuing possession, Ponds was called for a reach-in foul on Powell with 38 seconds left.
This was a brutal call, as it was not clear Ponds ever got the hand in, and also with 38 seconds left, the referee should have kept the whistle in his pocket on a 50/50 play like that.
Powell went to the line and drained both free throws to make it 70-68 Seton Hall.
Powell then fouled Ponds as he went up for a shot with 16 seconds left, and Ponds made both free throws to tie it at 70.
Seton Hall had plenty of time to get a game-winning shot, but there play was very slow to develop and the ball wound up in Powell's hands and his three-point attempt rimmed out to send the game to overtime.
The extra period began with Delgado and Ponds trading baskets to start, followed by Delgado getting a layup to make it 74-72 Hall at the 4:00 mark.
St. John's then had three chances on their ensuing possession, as Clark and Ponds missed threes and Bashir Ahmed missed a layup.
The most consequential play happened with 1:02 left when Clark fouled Carrington with 1:02 left, and Carrington made both free throws to open up a five-point lead, 77-72.
Ponds then responded with a pair of free throws with 55 seconds left to make it 77-74, and Ahmed got to the line for a one-and-one with 28 seconds left, but he missed the first one.
St. John's then took too long to foul, as they should have immediately with the shot clock turned off by that point, and finally with 16 seconds left, they sent Carrington to the line to drain a pair and seal the victory.
Seton Hall outscored St. John's 11-4 in the overtime.
Seton Hall Head Coach Kevin Willard Quotebook by Jaden Daly of Daly Dose Of Hoops (Dalydoseofhoops.blogspot.com):
On Seton Hall's response to the past 72 hours, including the suspended game against Providence and Friday's report involving Tiny Morton and Isaiah Whitehead:
"I'm really proud of the way these guys focused in and were able to really restart their minds on Thursday, because we were playing so well Wednesday night when the game stopped, and then really a light practice yesterday. But we were very focused, and I think they really respect this St. John's team. We knew how good they've been playing, we knew how good they are, and then I think anytime you play at the Garden, you have to respect the greatest venue ever, and I knew these guys would come out and play their hardest."
On Friday's report being a factor:
"Absolutely nothing. It had nothing to do with them. They had -- these guys -- have practiced, we had a nice team meal and they played video games."
On the short turnaround between Providence and St. John's, and being a helpful factor in the Big East Tournament:
"I think these guys are pretty used to the quick turnaround by now. I think for the younger guys they were a little bit mentally tired, but Myles Cale did a phenomenal job, Sandro played really well, so I thought all of them really kind of bounced back nice."
On walk-on Philip Flory playing 17 minutes:
"When Desi went down, Myles (Cale) is technically his backup defensively and offensively, and Phil's the only one that really knows what he's doing from the offensive side from that spot -- whether it's zone, whether it's underneath out of bounds plays -- and I think we all have a lot of confidence in Phil when he's out there, because he's tough, he'll defend and rebound, and when he's open, he could make a shot."
On his reaction to Friday's report published by Pete Thamel of Yahoo:
"The school has put out a statement. The only thing I'll say is that we've already hired an outside law firm to come in and do an investigation, and as a staff and as the head coach, I am looking forward to having them come in. We're going to be 100 percent open, we're going to be 100 percent honest, and I have a lot of confidence in my staff and ourselves in what we've done in the past, and I'm glad the school has moved quickly on this so we can move on from it."
"I have no other comment besides that. I can't comment on anything else because there's nothing else to comment about. There's just nothing else. That's my comment. I've got great players in my program with great kids and a perfect graduation rate and guys doing a lot of great stuff. I like where my program is."
On whether he addressed the report with the players:
"No, I don't think we talked about that. When I walked into the locker room -- I mean, you can't get away from it, it's on ESPN, it's on FS1, it's everywhere -- but we're focused on this team and what we're doing, and I'm focused on -- I'm enjoying coaching these seniors the last few weeks I'm going to have them. I'm enjoying every second with them because I'm going to miss them tremendously, and that's our focus."
On confidence that people connected to ASM sports are involved with this group of Seton Hall players:
"Again, I'm not going to comment on that. The only thing that I've seen is the Yahoo report, and I don't know -- there's no other facts or details about anything else out there -- so I can't comment on that, and I can't comment on something -- we haven't done our investigation and there's nothing to do. We were confident, we went through an investigation one other time early on that came out clear, and we'll go through it again. I'm confident -- again -- we'll come out, everything that we did and that we're supposed to do, we did the right way."
On Ismael Sanogo's defense on Shamorie Ponds:
"We tried to hide the big fella a little bit because they went small, and I think they really did a good job of kind of switching. We moved Angel around so they couldn't just get Angel in a pick-and-roll, which is tough when they're that small, and obviously Ish is; as we think, one of the best defenders in the country and Shamorie's one of the best guards, so it was a good matchup."
On Angel Delgado sitting out in practice:
"We didn't practice this week, so -- we played four games, technically, this week -- we played Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday. We'll take off tomorrow, he'll practice Monday, he probably won't practice Tuesday that much, but no one really practices much this time of year days before a game. But he likes to practice, I like when he's out of practice because he really is a pain in the butt in practice, (joking) but for the most part, I think his knee's doing pretty good. His shoulder's a little banged up, but for the most part, I think he's playing pretty well."
On Seton Hall's senior class accomplishments being vacated and any possible concern:
"Absolutely not. This has been a phenomenal group that has done tremendous things on and off the court, community service, they're all going to graduate, they've all played this game tremendously and again, I'm looking forward to getting the outside law firm in and then moving forward."