St. John’s basketball responds from massive hole to down Seton Hall

St. John's basketball sophomore forward Julian Champagnie (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
St. John's basketball sophomore forward Julian Champagnie (Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /

St. John’s basketball rallied from a massive hole to defeat the Seton Hall Pirates in Queens. 

“We was getting smacked,” St. John’s basketball junior wing Greg Williams Jr. said.

And he wasn’t wrong.

The Johnnies (16-10, 10-9 Big East) couldn’t have imagined a worse start in its regular season finale against Seton Hall (13-12, 10-9 Big East) as the Pirates raced out to an 18-0 lead.

St. John’s slowly began to chip away, trimming its deficit to as little as six before Seton Hall took a ten point lead into the halftime locker room.

Within the first three minutes of the second half the Red Storm had the deficit down to two and two minutes later the Johnnies tied things up.

“We’re starting to hang out hats on our defense,” head coach Mike Anderson said in his post game press conference as the Johnnies held Seton Hall to 35.5-percent shooting in the second half, 25.0-percent from three-point range.

St. John’s took its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer from Marcellus Earlington with 14:04 to go in the game and never looked back.

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Earlington’s triple was the start of a 14-1 run which saw the St. John’s lead ballon to as many as ten points.

The junior forward had a team-best +23 rating and 12 points on four made field goals, all from beyond the arc, in just 18 minutes.

The Johnnies’ largest lead was 12, 67-55, as it was led by sophomore star Julian Champagnie with 22 points and six rebounds.

St. John’s shot 51.8-percent from the floor and 45.5-percent from three-point range with a scorching 66.7 shooting percentage in the second half as the Johnnies outscored Seton Hall 81-53 over the final 33:30 and 53-33 in the second half.

“We didn’t bicker among each other or anything like that. We just kept being positive and making a difference in the game,” Willams Jr. said.

The junior guard only finished with 11 points but was 4-of-6 from the floor and added five rebounds and five assists.

Dylan Addae-Wusu was second on the team in scoring with 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

St. John’s basketball with plenty of momentum heading into postseason

Despite not having freshman point guard Posh Alexander (thumb) for its last two games, the Johnnies still railed from double-digit halftime deficits to pick up much needed victories.

St. John’s cliched a bye into the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament and will either be the No. 4 or No. 5 seed, pending the result of the Xavier (13-6, 6-6 Big East) vs. Marquette (12-13, 7-11 Big East) game on Saturday night.

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If Xavier is to win, St. John’s would be the No. 5 seed and play the Musketeers on Thursday afternoon, while with a Marquette win the Red Storm would be the No. 4 seed and have a rematch with Seton Hall.

Regardless, St. John’s will return to Madison Square Garden for the first time since its canceled game at halftime against Creighton as last year’s conference tournament.

Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00pm EST (Fox Sports 1).