Garden Notebook: Seton Hall disappointing in 78-70 loss to St. John’s

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NEW YORK — Vying for their first three-game win streak since December, Seton Hall came up short and looked inferior to St. John’s in many aspects in a disappointing 78-70 loss laced with NCAA implications.

Seton Hall (15-9, 5-7) started decently but missed a few high-percentage chances on the offensive end and then buckled under the high defensive intensity that St. John’s brought for a large portion of the game. 

Kevin Willard labelled St. John’s center Tariq Owens a “real difference-maker” post-game after he registered four blocks and a double-double in just his second start in 2017; Owens set the tone for a really strong defensive effort from St. John’s.

Seton Hall coughed the ball up down the stretch of the first half, wasn’t able to get key defensive stops in crunch time during the second period, and never really looked like threatening St. John’s double-digit advantage even though the Red Storm eased off the pedal a bit just prior to the final media break. 

All that and more below…

Five thoughts

Seton Hall lost the points off turnovers battle 30-5. Need I say more; can I stop writing now? The Pirates turned it over 6 times over the final five minutes of the first half and lost that battle 18-8 overall with just 10 assists; St. John’s went on a 16-6 run over that five-minute span. This is clearly the stat of the game for me.

As I predicted before the first meeting, Seton Hall lost the guard battle today. At least once, Khadeen Carrington (14 pts, 5-16 FG) was noticeably favoring the left hand that had two dislocated fingers against Butler a few weeks back en route to a lackluster showing from Seton Hall’s star guard after it looked like he had turned a corner against Georgetown and Providence; Carrington said his hand was fine post-game. Madison Jones (2 pts, 1 ast, 3 TOs) started aggressively but was repeatedly turned away in the paint while Myles Powell (13 pts) had a strong second half but his outburst looked to have come too late to really matter.

St. John’s interior was their weak link coming into this game, but a neutral would have no idea. Hats off to Chris Mullin for finally plugging Tariq Owens into his starting five beginning with Villanova last week, but the move clearly paid dividends today as well. Kevin Willard noted how two shot-blockers on the floor at once impacted the game; St. John’s was the 8th-best shot blocking team coming into the game.

Seton Hall couldn’t get a stop when it mattered. St. John’s scored on 7 of 8 possessions during the middle portion of the second half to build a 65-49 lead then they scored points on 4 of 5 possessions just after the final media timeout to stave off any outside chance the Pirates had of making a comeback. Both schools had 36 points in the paint while Seton Hall’s thin depth showed in a 32-13 bench points disadvantage; Marcus LoVett scored 19 off the pine.

This one obviously hurts Seton Hall’s tournament chances, but it hasn’t sunk the ship. The Pirates dropped about 8 RPI spots from 36th to 44th following the loss against a sub-100 opponent, though St. John’s looks poised to continue to rise at this current trajectory. The optics are bad, but the Hall has four resume-building games left in Creighton, Villanova, and Xavier at home plus Butler on the road in their regular season finale; they definitely cannot afford to lose to either of DePaul and Georgetown.

Five quotes:

Kevin Willard on where things went wrong: “We were up 24-23 with 3:50 to go in the first half and we had 5 turnovers in a row, that let them get on a good run and go up 10 at the half. We had some good opportunities but I thought the kid [Tariq] Owens played great on the inside, he was a difference-maker. We had our chances, but you gotta give them credit.”

When asked about fatigue, turnaround: “We just talked about that in the locker room. Going into this, these two games, I thought — Providence and St. John’s — we’re going to be the two toughest ones just because both teams were coming off bye weeks … I knew it was going to be a quick turnaround but I don’t think we were tired but I don’t think I prepared them as well as I could have on the 1-day [turnaround]. We still have a great opportunity in front of us, we have three home games against three great teams.”

More on the same topic, though Willard was specifically asked about it: “I think today, were they more fatigued than they were Wednesday? Yeah, I think that’s just natural. We took a good day off Thursday but you have to do a little work Friday and then you play an early game. I don’t think it’s physical maybe just a little bit mental … It’s tough playing two overtime games and two teams coming off bye weeks. You don’t have as much time and they do and coming off a bye-week they’re fresh. I have a lot of confidence in these guys going forward, I loved the effort they played with and the battle they played with. We just have to take the opportunities in front of us.”

Willard on the difference in St. John’s frontcourt compared to the first game, and if missing Ismael Sanogo had an impact: “Now you have two good shot-blockers down there where last game they had one … I thought them playing big was a little bit of a difference and us not having Ish [Sanogo] is a difference because now when we take Mike [Nzei] out, we have a hard time running — we don’t have a whole lot of stuff with Desi [Rodriguez] at the four and I think that played into it a little bit.”

On if his team needs to go 3-0 over the next three games: “You can’t think about if you have to win all three of them. You don’t know. You don’t. The goal is to win all three of them, yeah. But I mean, we’re going to start with Creighton .. That’s what these guys have done a good job of this year. Every time we have had a tough challenge or tough slate on the schedule, they’ve bounced back great. That’s why I’m so proud of them and why I have so much confidence in them. We haven’t had an easy slate and every time I’ve asked them to regroup and come back they have and have done it with a great attitude.”

Khadeen Carrington on playing in the Garden: “In March when we come in here, I’m going to forget about this already.”

ESPN box score

  • Ardy

    It is crazy to talk to the team about being fatigued before a game. Brilliant! Seems like when Powell has a good game the next game he does not get the ball. He was wide open when some turnovers were made.He hit 2 threes in a row in the second half to ignite a comeback and they stop going to him. (As noted by the commentators)Pirates only had 1 block shot today and it was by Powell, and he had as many offensive rebounds as Delgado and Desi.He is a freshman but a smart player.When Powell gets 10+ shots a game Pirates win Some one tell KW to look it up.

    • Will add a quote from KW on MP later. Paraphrased, he said that MP got lost at times (unsure if he meant Myles did or his teammates lost him) but that he had a really good 2H

      • LBP

        His Team-mates ignored him. 7 shots for the Game?

    • Speaking of offensive rebounding, was impressed by Nzei on offense today. More raw but just as relentless as Delgado on glass. Needs to improve defensively. Could be a Ish/Delgado hybrid.

  • LBP

    Very disappointing– and Chris you are more than kind not to criticize M.Jones for a terrible , terrible Game on both ends.

    • Despite him ultimately striking out, i thought he started well. No ability to adjust and surely the blocks affected his psyche, but yeah. Someone asked me on Twitter how many pts SJU scored off his mistakes (3 official TOs), but Desi and Delgado combined for 11… collective loss.

      • LBP

        Chris– you are more than fair to M. Jones and I respect your position. ( Now comes the but..) M.Jones was “used ” on Defense–“used”. I beg to differ with you TO count –he failed too many times to catch the ball cleanly and failed miserably on his break-aways. He was intimidated and rather than use his body, he wildly threw the ball higher.
        What is more concerning is that he continues to pick up his dribble at all the wrong times and places—how many more times is he going to stop 2 steps over half Court?or stop while standing sideways and lob it to someone? Worse yet he is too often in the way because he tries to give it up in the middle of the floor with no place to go. Has he completed one pick and roll this season? He rarely gets back quickly and his floor balance is rotten.
        Look–he did not lose this Game but he did nothing to give the Team a chance to win. He has “no sense of the Game”–when to go faster–when to settle things down. Importantly , he is not a leader.
        The one thing he has done is to remind me of how important a PG is in College Basketball–

        • hallstorm

          Yes–completely accurate in your assessment LBP. It isn’t just screen and rolls that Jones can’t execute: he also has no ability to create anything on the interior once he penetrates. Teams know he is just going for a layup because he can’t pull-up for a jumper and lord knows he couldn’t ever even attempt a teardrop, so they back off him and play the pass (which he inevitably just kicks out to the perimeter). But I could accept his inept offense if he could rotate back on defense–which he does not. The number of fast breaks we give up is astounding.

          However, the biggest issue is that once the team gets down, it’s “put your head down and bull your opponent over”. Seton Hall has committed a record-breaking level of offensive fouls over the last 3-4 games. We have zero passing and zero assists. 2-3 of the final tally of 10 assists were on the last bunch of 3-pointers at the end of the game after it’s already been decided. I thought it was pretty instinctual that once you beat your own man and someone comes for help, you look for the open guy…..

          • LBP

            Hallstorm– the biggest problem is that he is what he is and has shown no real improvement— there is no excuse for his failure to hustle on D

        • The defensive guard play has been poor for much of the season. Such is life when you lose DG and IW. KC does a good job of staying out of foul trouble but him + Jones are certainly a downgrade.

  • Random note: Was told that Ish’s missing tooth happened way back in Hawaii. I know some were asking. Havent noticed it because he wears a mouthguard when he plays. Is waiting for a tooth replacment/implant, probably after the season. He will likely return Wednesday.

  • SHU95

    Ish has always played like a hockey player…now he looks like one too!

    • Joe Schmoe

      beat up?

  • PadrePirate

    I see no way no to bubblehood other than a 4-2 finish, taking 2/3 this home stand then 2/3 on the road. Looking highly unlikely but one can hope.

    As for the game, KWs use of MP over the last few games has been puzzling. They kid has talent but keeps getting yanked out and sometimes too few touches. Stuff like that sets up transfers.

    • Think the transfer suggestion is way over the top here. This is a local freshman playing 22 MPG for a team that is right around the bubble…

      • Ardy

        Your reply is interesting. Are you saying he should except this treatment?The Hall should be grateful to have this kid on the team.From what I’ve seen I think he could get 22 MPG and start on a top team! If they respected his true talent and skills and stopped playing my buddy ball they would not be on the bubble.Other players, teams and coaches respect his talent. Does the Hall? He should be a starter and he comes off the bench and gets 7 shots for the whole game and then people say he needs to become more consistent with his scoring? What do you think is really going thru his head? What would be going thru yours?
        We will see if he comes back.

        • Hes an important sixth man on a bubble team. KW helped him transform his body and compliments him endlessly. All his social media posts are positive.

          Comments like “we’ll see if he comes back” are baseless and needlessly negative.

          • SHU95

            Agree, he has an important role which should only expand next season and beyond. I would certainly like to see them run more plays for him when he is on the floor, but he is not coming off digruntled at all, and I would be shocked if he transferred for what it’s worth.

            Also, Chris, there was an article on rivals earlier in the week about a 2017 Big from Latvia (Robert Blumbergs) who included SHU on a relatively short list of US schools in the hunt for him. Article was very favorable on his game and touted him as ‘ready to contribute’ next season. Do you know anything about his recruitment? Visits or plans etc. thanks!

          • Ardy

            We will see going forward.They must play as a team to win. If they don’t the bubble will burst. Watching the Hall loose games they can win if they play team ball is frustrating. You may see the comment as baseless,needlessly negative but we must look at the whole picture.They have been playing buddy ball for a while now and it is leading to more and more turnovers.It is on TV for all to see.I hope he returns next year, but not to the same things. I see that a lot of players have left the Hall and it should a cause of concern. Were ALL the players at fault each time?

          • Joe Schmoe

            Transfers prior to graduation are almost a kiss of death. Myles will be a starter and key member of the offense next season. if he leaves, hell be sitting out the year entirely forgotten. His freshman campaign has been entirely commendable at this point. at no point was he expected to carry the team, and at no point should he have been.

          • Ardy

            WOW. Really love your doomsday statement about being totally forgotten if he decides to transfer without a chance to excel apart from the hall. Great balance. Maybe Pirate nation would entirely forget him. I Don’t want to go to far into a kids life like that.

          • Joe Schmoe

            Name one undergraduate transfer that left Seton Hall’s program and transferred “up” to a more successful program while also increasing individual visibility /playing time/results….

          • Ardy

            He could be the 1st. There is always a 1st.

          • Joe Schmoe

            How did that work out for Sina?… he got all indignant…now playing for a mediocre team after a one year vacation. NO ONE transfers “up”, and NO ONE wants to sit out a year.

          • Ardy

            One of my friends a High school basketball coach mentioned Sterling Gibbs. I looked him up. Looks like he did ok. Back to more important things. GO PIRATES TONIGHT!

          • Joe Schmoe

            Gibbs was a graduate transfer. Thats different. Graduate transfers can play immediately without having to sit out a year. There have been many successful one off seasons for graduate transfers. You said Myles Powell was going to transfer after his freshman year.

        • hallstorm

          What is the basis of this statement? Silly statement that is wholly unsupported with zero creditability.

          Let’s look at players around MP’s (Myles was no. 82) cumulative high school ranking and their respective amount of playing time:

          84. Sam Hauser (Marquette) 25 min/game
          85. Curtis Jones (Indiana) – 12 min/game
          81. Eli Wright (Miss. St) – 12 min/game
          86. Jayce Johnson (Utah) – 12 min/game
          78. Vance Jackson (UConn) – 25 min/game
          76. Tyree Crump (Georgia) – 5 min/game

          *82. Myles Powell – 23 min/game

          I use the above players (3 just above and 3 just below Myles’ ranking) because these players’ teams are roughly in the same RPI and tournament position (or worse) than Seton Hall. The reason why is because I don’t even want to call out some of the McDonald’s All-Americans who haven’t played as much because their team might be just too good for them to play enough. Because of injuries, Jackson from UConn is playing even more! and Crump from Georgia has virtually no one above him.

          Stirring up baseless controversy on here is not constructive nor is it anything worth even speculating about unless each of the above players is guaranteed to transfer next year also.

          • Ardy

            Not stirring up controversy. Voiced what I saw from watching the games and some may not agree with it.Don’t just reply to me but look at all the reply’s also.It did go overboard on all sides. Friends took me to a game and I was very impressed with MP talent.I have never wrote a blog before and did not realize how quick things could go crazy.I realized when it was said that this talent would be forgotten that things had gone to far.

          • hallstorm

            I get what you’re saying, but there’s been no dialogue even remotely pontificating a Powell transfer and he’s even (lightly) recruiting Duval to come play here (they are good friends) next season. It just seemed to come out of nowhere and it’s like saying the Knicks are going to get Durant and Curry in a trade at the end of the year.

            It’s one thing to suggest Powell deserves more playing time–it’s another to say he is going to threaten to transfer and then push the (unsubstantiated) hypothesis. PiratePadre has been on this forum a while and he was going into hyperbole suggesting a transfer for coming out of a game too soon.

            And to be honest: no coach from a power conference is going to play a player for fear of a transfer–unless that kid is a guaranteed first rounder in the draft next year. And frankly, I would lose respect for a coach who plays a player because they threatened to transfer.

          • Ardy

            Thank you. Well said.

  • PadrePirate

    No comments on not fouling at the end of the game?? I found that demoralizing

    • At what point? Down 76-67 with :55 to play I suppose. Bit of a stretch, but lot of teams would do it I guess — at least one round of fouls.

      • PadrePirate

        Didn’t we come back from 8 down vs MU in about that same time span? I thought they might have started fouling under 2. I know it’s a stretch but I just don’t like the mentality. This team is just missing that extra hunger that DG and IW brought last year

  • 11yearplan

    Off Topic: God bless Isaiah Whitehead. He tweeted a pic of Duval in a Pirate uniform, wearing #15, and said if he commits, give him the number.

    On Topic: Ish is back for the next game. If he is 100% the results will be better.

    • Sounds like he will play.

    • ThePirateFan

      Damn, didn’t catch that. IW going out of his way to help out his boys and his coach. Good friend.

  • VinBick

    Well, here we go. Must win out with the exception of the Nova game. Even that better be a good showing for the committee. Can this team do it? That fat lady is just off stage in the wings ready to do her thing…….

    Will be at the Rock on Wednesday night . Let’s provide loads of support at our place. Go Pirates!

    • RPIWizard says a 4-2 finish (losses to Butler, Nova) = 37 RPI and 36 SOS.

      That may be enough if Hall can win at least one in the Garden. They are currently a 7-seed and really need to get that 6th spot so they don’t play on first day. Would also mean a game vs 3rd seed to play 2nd seed instead of Nova.

      • Joe J

        True. And If they can find a way to get to 9-9 they’ll get the 5 or 6 seed in the BE Tourney. Marquette has been struggling and the Johnnies have at least 3 losses left on their schedule down the stretch. The 6th seed would be the best scenario.

      • VinBick

        You know much more than I do. Do believe this team has the potential to go 4-2 IF the first seven can endure the playing time and the pressure on them. They cannot afford to let up for a minute in any of the remaining games and in the BE Tournament. Two wins in the Garden will ensure a punched ticket if the Pirates can go 4-2.

        With a rocking Rock on Wednesday, this team can respond well. Go Pirates.

      • Joe Schmoe

        The loss at St Johns lowered the Vegas probability of making the NCAAs from 40% to 32%. St Johns was a must-win. They didn’t execute. 4-2 over the final six is a pipe dream with 4 of the six games vs the top half of the conference. They will be lucky if they can grab 2.

        • The odds definitely get tougher, but 4 of their remaining 6 games will be weighted due to the strength of opposition. Even the Georgetown home game may become a game that pops out to the committee on their resume.

          Much different than a worse conference where opportunities are few and further between.

  • Retrospective note: The small spread for yesterday’s game is justified after all, no? Lot said it was strange/fishy…

  • Hallbuster

    We are a star point guard away from being great. It’s that simple. If I am a premier high school national point guard like IW was I should be licking my lips to go play with these guys. They are all a great supporting cast but we need a star. The table is set but no one at the head. Very simple. Oh and if IW was still on this team we would be top 5 in nation. IW and DG still here and legit chance at national championship

    • Joe J

      Very true. It would be even more ideal for a 1 and done guy like Duval for 2017. Honestly, it’s currently not a great spot for a 4 year guy. 2018 looks bleak with no legitimate big man with experience on the roster for the PG to work with.
      It’s 2017 or bust for Pirate fans and possibly Willard’s future.

      • Hallbuster

        Yes ideal for 1 and done guy for sure.

    • This has to be the sell for Willard along with the inverse, which would be selling Delgado on the fact that he’ll have a star to make him better if he’s weighing up pro opportunities.

      IW was always billed as 2 and done or perhaps 1 and done if he has a great year. Duval will almost surely be the latter. Tempting to even think about

  • fouline

    After watching the game I had the feeling some of these guys left the team but they’re still wearing uniforms and out on the court. They should just do a JT and leave. Goodbye. There is no team unless you work as a team. And there is no invitation to the Tourney unless you ‘re a team.

  • Andrew Herbst

    O/T: Lunardi and Palm still have us in. Lunardi has us as last 4 in.

    • Very much still in it. Haven’t followed bubble games, but will going forward if SH wins 1 of next two. Going to roll out some relevant bracket/bubble content if they do.

      • Andrew Herbst

        Sounds good. I think we can beat Creighton with Ish healthy, but Nova will be a tough task.

        • Nova has an injury too + fairly thin. SH will need 4 scorers to all be on A-game to have shot. Hasn’t happened consistently

          • Andrew Herbst

            Yep. Definitely. We need Desi and Khadeem to shoot well from outside.

  • LBP

    Chris and Fishjam–
    I have not seen Jordan Walker–assuming you have, is he a Big East player?
    I believe this group of Players would be better if they ran more. The Hall has a great rebounder(s) and Desi and Carrington are decent in the open Court but with M. Jones they never up-tempo ( or can’t)– does J.Walker fit a run scheme? Would he be too much a liability on D?
    I know the dream world is T Duval as a 1 year wonder but if the dream is crashed, is Walker the best choice?

    • I haven’t seen him yet. I’m definitely trying to get out to see Darnell Brodie, who becomes eligible for East Side in a week or so; he had to sit out 30 days.

      What I’ve heard of Walker is that he’s a pure PG but he can be turnover prone. Not often you find a pure PG, so the latter can be worked on.

      Don’t know much more than that, but yes he looks like the primary backup to Duval in 2017 other than an incoming eligible transfer/JuCo.

    • Fishjam

      LBP – Walker has Big East talent but he isn’t at a dominating level where he can walk in and be a great player starting from Day 1 as it can be a tough league for freshman. In a dream scenario I hope we get both Trevon and Walker. Walker could come off the bench as a freshman and start his remaining 3 years.

      Walker is kind of like his former St Pat’s teammate Bryce Aiken who was close to committing last year but chose Harvard over us and is leading them in scoring as a freshman. Walker is same size, about 5’11-6’0, lightning quick, solid basketball IQ and handle. He’ a good passer and puts a lot of pressure on a defense always looking to penetrate with his quickness and ability to change directions. He’s dangerous in the open court, can drive and finish with both hands and is a solid 3-point shooter.

      Defensively, he puts a lot of pressure on the ball with his quickness but has the usual liabilities on defense expected from an undersized guard. He’ll struggle with big, physical guards but he doesn’t back down and can get steals. Ideally, looking down the road with Powell at the 2 and Cale at the 3, we’d like a bigger PG so we aren’t undersized at all 3 positions but we badly need a PG in 2017 so we definitely want him if we lose out on Duval.

      If that happens, I think we sign Walker and go hard after the best graduate transfer PG in the country. This year we had to settle for MJ as no one was going to wait around to see if Whitehead was staying or going. This year if Duval goes elsewhere you have a very attractive position to offer a grad-transfer.

      • LBP

        Thanks Fishjam–Always appreciate your opinions–