Seton Hall survived a scare from St. John’s Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden to bolster its NCAA Tournament resume and maintain its position in the middle of the Big East standings. Khadeen Carrington led five Pirates in double figures as they took down the Red Storm 81-74 in overtime.
With the victory, Seton Hall improves to 20-9 overall and 9-7 in league play with two games to go before the Big East Tournament. The Pirates find themselves locked in a four-way tie with Butler, Providence, and Creighton for third place behind league leaders Xavier and Villanova.
Coming off the odyssey of a suspended game at Providence begun on Wednesday and finished on Thursday, there was some concern for Seton Hall entering this rivalry game on such a quick turnaround.
“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,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “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.”
The Pirates’ seven point margin of victory marked the largest lead of the afternoon, as neither team led by more than six through regulation.
Angel Delgado accounted for Seton Hall’s first six points of the game as the Pirates opened on an 11-5 run in the early going. However, a 15-4 Saint John’s response culminated in a Shamorie Ponds layup to give the Red Storm their largest lead of the afternoon midway through the half.
Ponds, who has been nothing short of brilliant in his sophomore season, was held to just six points in the first half, but finished as the game’s leading scorer with 25. The Brooklyn native also added six assists for the third consecutive game, and is averaging a remarkable 29.1 ppg over his last seven contests.
Seton Hall brought a 38-34 lead into the intermission, and maintained its advantage through much of the second half. A Myles Powell jumper gave the Pirates a 67-63 lead with 2:41 to play, but the Red Storm were able to pull even at 70 on a pair of Ponds free throws with 16 seconds remaining. Powell launched a deep three at the regulation horn, but missed off the side of the rim.
As in the start of regulation, it was Delgado who spurred Seton Hall in the extra frame. The senior forward converted layups on each of the Pirates’ first two possessions as they outscored St. John’s 11-4 in overtime.
Delgado finished 7-9 from the field for 14 points, and brought down 13 rebounds for his 70th career double-double, which ranks 20th all-time among NCAA leaders.
“I’m a warrior,” Delgado boasted postgame. “I’m always going to come right back. I’m not letting my team down right now just because something hurts. If something hurts, it’s gotta go away at some point, so I’m always there. I’m always ready to play.”
Powell finished just 1-11 from beyond the arc, but still managed to fill the stat sheet to the tune of 18 points, with career highs in both rebounds (8) and assists (6). Ismael Sanogo added 10 points and six rebounds while freshman Myles Cale also scored 10 in his first career start in the place of Desi Rodriguez, who suffered an injury prior to the suspension of Seton Hall’s previous game at Providence.
Both teams combined to shoot just 10-45 from three-point range, with St. Johns’ Marvin Clark II the lone player to enjoy sustained success from the perimeter. The redshirt junior finished 3-5 from downtown for 19 points with a career-high 10 rebounds for his first double-double and is now averaging 18.3 ppg over his last three contests. Bashir Ahmed added 12 points, and has now reached double figures in 45 of 62 career appearances.
The Red Storm’s path to the NCAA Tournament now appears shut barring a miraculous run in March, while Seton Hall will seek to close out the season strong with a golden opportunity against Villanova on Wednesday before hosting Butler next weekend.
Vincent Simone covers the MAAC, Hofstra, and more for NYC Buckets. You can follow him on Twitter @VTSimone.