Sunday, February 18, 2024

St. John's Stumbles Late Once Again To Fall To The Hall


Joel Soriano snags a rebound. @StJohnsBball.

St. John's third and final game at UBS Arena this season did not go as well as their first two outings there, as they had another rough second half on their way to a 68-62 loss to local rival Seton Hall on Sunday evening.

This was the Red Storm's eighth loss in their last 10 games, and drops their Big East Conference record to 6-9, while their overall record is now just 14-12.

This game was once again a tale of two halves, as St. John's raced out to a 41-29 lead at halftime before a second half in which Seton Hall outpaced them 39-21.

Seton Hall shot just 38.5 percent (10-26) from the field in the second half, but they buried 17 free throws to make up for it. St. John's shot just 24.2 percent, or 8-33, which included 3-18 from behind the arc, in the latest rough outing down the stretch.

Seton Hall was led by Al-Amir Dawes, who had 19 points on 5-14 shooting, 3-7 from behind the arc, and a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line, with three rebounds. Kadary Richmond had 18 points (6-14 FG, 0-1 threes, 6-9 FT), and 11 rebounds to give him a double-double, with two assists.

St. John's was led by Daniss Jenkins, who had 17 points on 7-16 from the field, including 3-6 on three-pointers, with six assists and five rebounds. Joel Soriano had 13 points on 5-9 shooting, with 12 rebounds for a double-double, and three blocks. 

PITINO POSTGAME: St. John's Head Coach Pitino addressed the media after the game, and he opened with this statement: "Well, if I said I was disappointed that would be the understatement of the year. Our lateral quickness and our toughness are just something I've never witnessed in all my years of coaching. We are so non-athletic that we can't guard anybody without fouling. It's been that way [all] year, but we came out there in the second half and we knew that they would come after us, but you have to move the ball. We just took four minutes of rushed shots...We've got five more [regular season] games and the Big East Tournament to play, so we will try to improve and make the best of it."

On the second half of the last few games: "I think the other team makes adjustments and we need to make adjustments to move the basketball and take good shots. We just lack toughness, and we just don't move our feet on defense. Look, they shot 37 free throws. Throw out the stats, you see it every game, the amount of free throws [other teams] take and the amount of free throws we shoot...All the toughness things are why we give up leads because we foul or we miss free throw shots down the stretch when the other team makes free throws. So, like I said, I knew this summer we were in trouble, but we won some games that I was pleased with. But after watching the film, there are only like three games that I was saying 'That's a great offensive performance, we are moving the basketball, that's blocking out. That's doing all the fundamental things.' So, it's disappointing...It's a good group, they try hard but they aren't that tough."

On the second half in this one: "Well in the second half, we took bad shots that led to our demise. In the first nine minutes [of the half], I think we scored four points because we took bad shots, we didn't reverse the basketball, didn't make the defense move. In the first half, we made the defense move, so it led to our demise."

On Seton Hall: "I think [Shaheen Holloway] put together a [team]  that mimics his personality, of all tough kids...Every one of his kids are really tough, everyone. Kadary Richmond is one of the best passers and we did a good job in the first half on him. But look, they are a very good free throw shooting team and you put them on the line 37 times. Their staff did a very good job, we did not do a good job."

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