Breaking news: Seton Hall and St. John’s basketball programs do not like each other.
The rivalry stemming from a Tri-state battle and heated words from Pirates head coach Bobby Gonzalez, was renewed at Carnesecca Arena yesterday.
In a game where fans came by the thousands, St. John’s put on one of its worst performances of the year, and fell to the Pirates 59-50.
This game had win written all over it for the Red Storm, who were coming off two massive wins in a row over the Louisville Cardinals and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Point guard Eugene Harvey did not play due to a injured ankle which he suffered in practice the day before, and stud Jeremy Hazell played a total of 12 minutes due to a laceration on his right hand that required 6 stitches.
“We proved we could play without Jeremy (Hazell) and Eugene (Harvey),” coach Gonzalez said. “We won a game at Carnesecca Arena over a metropolitan area rival. This was big. This was special. They’ll remember this for a long time.”
Yet St. John’s could not capitalize on Seton Hall’s misfortunes. In front of a crowd of over 5,000 it seemed like there was a lid on the Red Storms basket all night long.
“This is one of my favorite wins of my lifetime,” coach Gonzalez said. “We beat Florida in the NCAAs when I was at Manhattan. We beat Louisville here against Rick Pitino, an idol of mine. But this ranks up there.”
In the first half St. John’s was ice cold from the floor shooting 29% from the floor and missing all three of their attempts from the three point line. The second half was more of the same while Seton Hall answered by shooting over 27% from beyond the arc.
The first 11 3-pointers for St. John’s were misfires, and it was not until there was 1:34 remaining in the game that Dwight Hardy found the three pointer that decided to go all the way through the basket.
With Hazell the Big East’s second leading scorer at 22.4 points per game on the bench, forwards Robert Mitchell and Jeff Robinson stepped up for the Pirates. Mitchell poured in 15 points and snagged five rebounds while Robinson notched 16 points nine rebounds as well as two assists.
The other stand out for Seton Hall, Herb Pope was held in check on the offensive side of the glass with only eight points, but his 11 rebounds certainly helped Seton Hall with second chance opportunities and limited St. John’s chances to make up for their offensive woes.
Sean Evans led the way for what seemed like a lost Red Storm team with 14 points. Paris Horne chipped in with 12 points including a dunk in the first half on Jeff Robinson that had the Carnesecca crowd on its feet.
Unfortunately that was one of the last time fans had something to cheer about.
Fans chanted “Fire Roberts” at the lackluster play on the court as fans have grown tired of the losses. It has become bad enough that there were fans donning brown paper bags in the stands as they voiced their displeasure.
St. John’s will look to put this loss behind them as they travel to Florida on Saturday to take on the South Florida Bulls.