Wednesday, January 17, 2024

St. John's, Without Pitino, Has A Tough Night In Jersey


Seton Hall's Al-Amir Dawes wants people to see how well he played. @SetonHallMBB.

The value of someone can be seen as much in their absence as their presence, and that's something the St. John's men's basketball team experienced on Tuesday night.

At 5:14 p.m., around three hours before the Red Storm tipped off in Newark against Seton Hall, it was announced that St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino would not be there, as he was recovering from Covid, and that Associate Head Coach Steve Masiello was at the helm for the night.

Seton Hall dominated from the start, as they took a quick 6-0 lead and kept St. John's off the board for the first four minutes and 53 seconds of the game. Joel Soriano got a basket after he missed a layup at the 15:07 market of the first half.

St. John's, who was without Jordan Dingle due to Covid, then found a rhythym and, before you knew it, the game was tied at 24 on a Daniss Jenkins three-pointer with 4:33 left in the first half.

The Hall responded with a 14-0 run to finish out the opening frame, and they took a commanding 38-24 lead into halftime.

Incredibly, they opened the second half on another 14-0 run that put them up 52-24, and they were well on their way to an 80-65 victory.

Seton Hall, at the top of the Big East Conference standings, improved to 6-1 in conference play, and 13-5 overall. St. John's fell to 12-6 and 4-3 in conference play, with all three of those losses on the road.

The Hall was led by Al-Amir Dawes, who had 21 points on 5-10 shooting, 3-5 on three-pointers, and 8-9 at the free-throw line, with one rebound and one assist. Dylan Addae-Wusu had 16 points (4-12 FG, 3-6 three-pointers, 5-5 free throws),  with 10 rebounds to give him a double-double, and five assists. Elijah Hutchins-Everett had 14 points on a near-perfect 5-6 from the field, including 1-2 on threes, with seven rebounds and two assists.

St. John's was led by Daniss Jenkins, who had 17 points on 6-14 shooting and 3-8 on three-pointers, with five assists and two rebounds. Joel Soriano was held to six points on 3-8 from the field, with four rebounds in 18:39.

MASIELLO POSTGAME: Associate Head Coach Steve Masiello addressed the media in Pitino's absence, and opened with this statement: "Obviously, very disappointed with our performance tonight. Give a lot of credit to [Head Coach] Shaheen [Holloway] and Seton Hall, I thought they came out and really took it to us, especially on the glass, really making us work on the offensive end. Then with about five minutes left in the first half, they really started getting out in transition, got some second-chance opportunities, started to open it up a little bit. Then the first four minutes of the second half starting off [14-0], we didn't respond very well. We have to learn from it, get better, and turn the page."

On the team's mindset being without Pitino and Dingle: "It's not about excuses, this is college basketball. Adversity happens every day and you have to respond to adversity. Its ten percent what happens and ninety percent how you respond to it...We need to respond better. We didn't respond well today. We have to own it and be better. Simple as that. No one is going to make excuses about it."

On the team's effort: "I didn't think effort was a problem. I just thought we weren't there where we needed to be. We were out of rhythm, we were out of sorts, we weren't as quick to things. Our rotations were a little bit different tonight because of losing Jordan so close to the game. Our backcourt was a little thin, so we had to move some things around. Our effort on the glass wasn't there for sure...Giving up 21 offensive rebounds, we have to be tougher, but again, credit to Seton Hall."

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