St. John's basketball hopes crushed with another blown halftime lead to Seton Hall

It was the same story on a different day for the St. John's basketball team against Seton Hall
Feb 18, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA;  The St. John's Red Storm bench watches the final minute of
Feb 18, 2024; Elmont, New York, USA; The St. John's Red Storm bench watches the final minute of / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Rock bottom keeps getting lower for the St. John's basketball team.

The latest was a blown 19-point lead at home against Seton Hall with its NCAA Tournament hopes on the line.

The Johnnies managed just 21 points in the second half, nine of which were scored by Daniss Jenkins, after leading at the break, 41-29.

Jenkins was 4-for-9 after halftime while the rest of the team was 4-of-24 as the Pirates pulled away, 68-62.

St. John's (14-12, 6-9 Big East) has led at halftime in each of its last four losses.

"Our toughness is something I've never witnessed in all my years of coaching," Rick Pitino said following the loss.

Since holding its 38-19 lead, St. John's was outscored 49-24 over the final 23:00, but it came with caveats, as expected.

Despite the misfortunes and Seton Hall's (17-9, 10-5 Big East) extended run, Jenkins tied the game at 50 on a midrange jumper with 6:12 remaining. St. John's would commit a foul five seconds later that led to the Pirates reclaiming the lead on free throws.

Jenkins would hit a 3-pointer to put the Johnnies back in front, 53-52, with 5:22 left and another foul eight seconds later would lead to more free throws. It was a pattern that happened throughout the second half as Seton Hall shot 26 free throws after halftime, compared to just four for the Storm.

It was similar to the Johnnies' last game against Providence, giving up a layup nine seconds after Jenkins tied the game with 1:37 left.

Sunday night was the most disappointing and frustrating loss in a season that has been full of them recently and reality is setting in for the Hall of Famer that this is trending towards a lost season.

"It's been a disappointing year, and we have five more games and the Big East Tournament to play, and we'll try to improve and make the best of it," Pitino explained.

"I'm not going to lie to you, this is the most unenjoyable experience of my lifetime."

Seton Hall wasn't very impressive in its comeback, either. Defensively the Pirates were great, but only made 38.5-percent of its shots in the second half and connected on just 2-of-8 3-pointers as 43.5-percent of the Hall's points came at the free throw line after halftime.

It speaks to just how poorly the Red Storm played.

Joel Soriano returned to the starting lineup after being benched to begin St. John's last game and looked like a reinvigorated player with 11 points in the first half but only managed two points on a late put-back dunk in the second half.

St. John's will play Georgetown (8-17, 1-13 Big East) for the first time this season in Washington on Wednesday night (7:00 p.m. ET, FS1).