Seton Hall Men's Basketball - Dre Davis

Seton Hall stunned in Big East Tournament quarterfinals by St. John’s

Many didn’t believe the No. 4 Seton Hall Pirates would be defeated in such a disappointing fashion in the Big East Tournament. While the St. John’s Red Storm have proven to have a talented roster, the Pirates have an overall much more rounded team. In fact, in their two encounters earlier in the season, the Pirates won both games convincingly. Unfortunately, in many sports, defeating any team three times consecutively will always be tough. That said, the Red Storm led by head coach Rick Pitino made the proper adjustments and put on a dominating performance against the Pirates and won by the score of 91-72.

“It feels amazing,” Pitino states. “We knew today was going to be a hard-fought game. We knew if we wanted to beat this team we had to play our style of basketball and play a full 40 minutes. So I was just telling the guys when we got the lead to keep their foot in it, stay locked in.”

The Pirates Can’t Overcome Inconsistency

In this game, it appeared the Red Storm wanted to play in space and pick up the intensity of the game. Normally, the Pirates play at a very fast pace and shoot the ball consistently. In the first half, the Pirates trailed, however they were continuously fighting back and heavily relied on the deep ball to keep them in the game. They struggled to get inside the paint and were outrebounded throughout the entirety of the game. The Red Storm were able to manage and control the game by limiting the Pirates' possessions. 

“I gave them two messages,” Pitino further explains the game plan heading into Thursday evening. “I said this time of year some teams get tight and they rely on their half-court basketball. And I said I want you to do the opposite. I want you to go out and try and score 100 points tonight. I want you to play racehorse basketball, get a high number of assists, and get in the gaps and play them.”

“But we've gotta play a different style come March. It's gotta be racehorse basketball because I feel that takes the pressure off teams,” he continues.

The biggest issue for the Pirates throughout the game was their inability to get stops in key moments. St. John’s displayed their physicality during this matchup and gave themselves the best opportunity to exploit the Pirates' weakness. The Pirates played weak inside and allowed St. John’s to control the game internally.  According to the Pirates' leading scorer, Al-Amir Dawes (22 points and two assists), the team didn’t struggle offensively, in fact their defensive struggles caused the disappointing loss.

“We personally -- it wasn't no struggles at all for us and the guys. It's just we weren't good defensively today,” Dawes states after the disappointing loss. “So that's it.”

The Seton Hall Pirates Can’t Contain Joel Soriano

The Pirates struggled to contain St. John’s forward Joel Soriano. Soriano managed to record a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists) and impose his will throughout the game. The Pirates struggled to find open looks and gain any offensive rhythm, therefore allowing the Red Storm multiple opportunities in transition if they’re controlling the rebounding. 

“I mean, I came into this game, and I knew that my team needed me and I was going to do whatever I had to do to get the win,” Soriano explains. “So I mean, my performance is my performance. I wasn't too creative. I knew I had to come in here and play and dominate my position. I think Bediako the last six times we played, he dominated me on the offensive glass, blocking shots, and doing every little thing for their team. So I just tried to be the better matchup in my position today.”

Soriano came into this game with a personal attachment as he admits he’s been outplayed in the previous two meetings. Therefore, he knew he needed to step up to secure this victory to advance further in the tournament.

What’s Next for the Pirates?

Seton Hall are waiting to see what their seeding in the March Madness Tournament will be after suffering the disappointing loss to St. John’s.

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