NEWARK – Trailing 18-10 midway through the first half, it looked like Seton Hall was on upset alert against a St. John’s team that Vegas pegged as 18-point underdogs coming in. Sparked on both ends of the court by Isaiah Whitehead (19 pts, 7 rebs, 2 asts), Seton Hall reeled off a 24-8 run to close the half and wouldn’t look back on their way to a 79-60 rout of the Red Storm.
Facing little resistance, Whitehead was strong throughout while Angel Delgado (15 pts, 17 rebs) played well against a thin St. John’s front court; Angel pulled down 7 offensive boards, but his total count was surely helped by St. John’s shooting 29-percent from the floor.
In front of no more than 2,000 at Prudential Center, Seton Hall and St. John’s played a brutal, forgettable 20 minutes of basketball before things really opened up.
Seton Hall came up empty on their first 9 possessions, a span that included four turnovers, and didn’t appear keen on defending in a zone look, prompting Kevin Willard to bark at his team to “wake up” just minutes after the opening tip.
Still not awake, the Hall allowed the Red Storm to compile an 8-0 run that gave the visitors an 18-10 lead and prompted a Willard timeout amidst a 5-minute span that included just one Pirate basket.
Shooting under 30-percent from the floor late on in the half, it was a big-time defensive play that infused life into Seton Hall.
Isaiah Whitehead registered a huge block in his patented trailing defender fashion and then nailed a three-pointer seconds later to give his team a 27-22 lead and kick off a 24-8 run to end the half. St. John’s didn’t help their case by scoring a measly six points over the final 7:18 of the first half.
Leading 34-26 coming out of the locker room, Seton Hall reeled off a 15-3 run to build a 49-29 advantage at the first media timeout, effectively putting the game to bed with sixteen minutes remaining.
Oddly enough, Chris Mullin inserted two walk-ons coming out of the first media timeout and his team would score on their next three possessions after netting just one field goal over the prior 8 minutes, but the mini surge was far from enough to get the Johnnies back into the game.
Seton Hall answered with 10 points in two minutes, including two hoops from Angel Delgado (), who played by far his best game since the opening two games of the Big East season, to extinguish any slim chance St. John’s had of coming back.
Now sitting at 14-6 (4-4), Seton Hall has started an important-three game stretch off in the right fashion by taking care of St. John’s (7-14, 0-8). The Pirates travel to Creighton on Saturday before hosting Marquette in a week’s time.