It was an ugly rivalry showing between the St. John’s basketball team and Seton Hall.
In a game in which both teams needed to have but neither the St. John’s basketball team nor the Seton Hall Pirates put its best foot forward at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon.
The stars did not shine.
Jared Rhoden battled foul trouble all day and finished with just six points on 2-of-11 shooting while Julian Champagnie was not much better with nine points and connecting on only 3-of-14 shots.
The complementary players, however, were much better for the Pirates (12-5, 3-4 Big East) en route to its 66-60 victory.
Myles Cale finished with a game-high 21 points and nine rebounds while playing stifling defense on Champagnie, the Big East’s leading scorer.
Alexis Yetna, like most big men the Red Storm have played this season, caused fits down low for St. John’s (10-7, 2-4 Big East) with his 16 points and 15 rebounds.
The forward tandem on Yetna, Tyrese Samuel, and Ike Obiagu combined for 34 rebounds as Seton Hall pulled down 20 offensive rebounds and won the battle on the backboards, 60-43.
St. John’s held a three point lead, 28-25, in the final seconds of the first half before the Red Storm committed a turnover, which led to a Tray Jackson 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie things up going into halftime.
Seton Hall rode that momentum into the second half, opening up a seven point lead in the opening four minutes.
The Pirate lead grew to as many as nine points in the second half but the Red Storm would try and rally on multiple occasions.
Addae-Wusu would have a layup blocked by Obiagu with 11:50 to play, with St. John’s trailing 46-41, but was able to steal a Jamir Harris pass and get fouled in the process.
The sophomore guard would miss both free throw attempts as the Johnnies were 9-of-15 from the charity stripe in the second half.
St. John’s would have a chance to cut its deficit, 50-46, down to a single possession yet again after a timeout but a turnover by Champagnie led to four quick points for the Hall.
Finally, after it looked like all hope was gone, St. John’s was down four, 60-56, with 58 seconds left and the full court press finally paid off with a steal from Addae-Wusu underneath the basket. However, he missed the layup and the put-back attempt by Montez Mathis was also no good, and Seton Hall would ice the game with free throws to run out the clock.
Mathis was 3-of-12 from the floor for nine points.
“We’ve got multiple options out there, and right now, those options aren’t doing what they’re capable of doing,” head coach Mike Anderson said about the lack of scoring from his starting guard on Saturday.
Tareq Cobrun, who only played 3:38 in the game, made the only shot he attempted in the first half and logged just 19 seconds in the second half.
Seton Hall did not make a field goal in the final 5:45 of the game.
Same issues plaguing St. John’s basketball
All season long the same problems have been present for the Johnnies; layups, rebounding, and free throws.
St. John’s was 9-of-35 on layups, out-rebounded by 17, and 11-of-17 from the line.
There seemed to be no halftime adjustments and the half-court offense was dreadful.
Seton Hall had ten blocks, seven from Obiagu, after UConn blocked 16 shots against against the Red Storm last week.
“I thought we would be further along than we are right now. We just got to keep working, that’s all you can do,” Anderson said.
The Johnnies shot 29.3-percent from the floor while Seton Hall shot 33.8-percent for the game.
It’s getting late early for St. John’s as the team must go to Walsh Gym, on the campus of Seton Hall, for a rematch with the Pirates on Monday night.
It will be the first on-campus Big East game for Seton Hall since 1985 and it will be a student-only crowd in South Orange, New Jersey.
Anderson said he has never been a part of a matchup where his team will play the same opponent twice in three days.
“I guess we will see…we’ll be ready.”
Games against No. 11 Villanova, on the road, and No. 21 Providence, at home, await the Johnnies after its trip to New Jersey.
Things could be getting ugly in Queens quickly after there was so much promise in the preseason.
Tipoff is at 9:00 p.m. on Monday night on FoxSports1.