Rick Pitino explains decision to put Sean Conway in St. John's basketball starting lineup

Rick Pitino made a major change in the St. John's basketball starting lineup against Fordham.

Dec 16, 2023; New York, New York, USA;  St. John's Red Storm guard Sean Conway (30) takes a
Dec 16, 2023; New York, New York, USA; St. John's Red Storm guard Sean Conway (30) takes a / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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The St. John's basketball team has been looking for a spark and Rick Pitino is hoping he found it in Sean Conway.

Conway, the Virginia Military Institute transfer, was stunningly inserted in the starting lineup on Saturday afternoon against Fordham in replace of Jordan Dingle despite not playing in the Red Storm's loss to Boston College a week prior.

It was the second time that Sean Conway started this season -- the other on opening night -- but also failed to record a minute against Dayton and West Virginia.

"From an offensive standpoint, we wanted to get Sean [Conway] in there because Sean moves without the basketball so well," Pitino said after the 77-55 victory.

The 6-foot-4 guard finished with six points, two rebounds, and an assist on 3-of-8 shooting from the field and played a season-high in minutes despite being limited to just four minutes in the first half due to foul trouble.

"I base who starts just on practice," Pitino added.

Conway had 17 points and eight rebounds against Fordham last season with VMI, something that contributed him to him starting against the Rams for the Red Storm.

"I tell the guys, starting means very little to me, but I can’t look at your resume from the past and say this is who should start because that’s silly," the Hall of Famer continued.

"[Conway] had two or three great days of practice, and he earned the right to start in this game.”

He is averaging 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds on 35-percent shooting but only 2-of-11 (18.2-percent) from 3-point range, which on pace to be a career worst.

Jordan Dingle had eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, making both of his 3-point attempts, off the bench with four rebounds, something Pitino had been emphasizing for him to do, and three assists.

It will remain interesting if Sean Conway remains in the starting lineup as St. John's (7-3) begins Big East play on Wednesday night (7:00 p.m. ET, FoxSports1) inside Carnesecca Arena against Xavier (6-5).