Pirate sweep

Johnnies beat Pirates again and win at the Hall for the first time since 1998.

The St. John’s men’s basketball had some luck on their side on Thursday night versus Seton Hall as the Red Storm struggled immensely on both sides of the ball but were able to pull out another nail biting victory versus the Pirates 68-67. The win gave the Johnnies their seventh win in their last eight contests and their fourth straight in Big East play.

“In the beginning we had a slow start. Freshman guard Rysheed Jordan said. “So in the locker room at halftime we all talked about what the problem was and came out and started rebounding and playing defense. We did a couple of good things but we need to keep getting better at rebounding.”

St. John’s didn’t make anything easy for themselves against the Pirates, who suspended 31 percent of their offensive production in senior big men Eugene Teague and Brian Oliver. Even without Teague and Oliver the Red Storm gave up 44 points in the paint and had a tough go of it handling the ball with 19 turnovers, with Seton Hall scoring 28 points off those mistakes.

“Seton Hall played an intelligent and purposeful game. They outplayed us in every aspect in the first half,” St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin told reporters. “I’m proud of our effort and resourcefulness in the second half as we found a way to win an important game on the road.”

The Red Storm’s  (16-9, 6-6) victory on Thursday over the Pirates (13-12, 4-8) marked their first win in New Jersey since Feb. 15 1998.

With 2.1 seconds left in regulation sophomore center Chris Obekpa was fouled under the basket, sending the 40.7 percent free throw shooter to the line. With St. John’s Tournament hopes on the line Obekpa was able to sink one-of-two from the line and seal the victory for the Red Storm.

The second half was a close, tight knit affair, as neither St. John’s nor Seton Hall could stretch their lead to more than six points. Both traded baskets late as the difference would be the Pirates Fuquan Edwin ill advised miss on a deep three-pointer with 14 seconds on the shot clock late in the second half.  The Red Storm would corral the rebound, which led to a great Rysheed Jordan pass that resulted in Obkepa getting fouled and hitting the free throw to seal the victory.

St. John’s was lead in scoring on the night by D’Angelo Harrison with 12 points and Seton Hall’s Fuquan Edwin led all scorers with 25 points.

St. John’s will play next on Sunday Feb. 16 at Madison Square Garden versus the Georgetown Hoyas.

“It’s going to be crazy in there plus it’s Georgetown so it’s payback,” Jordan said. “We’re going to go out there and play hard to try and get that W. We have to just keep continuing on our winning streak.”