Thursday, January 1, 2015

Seton Hall 78, St. John's 67: Ray Floriani's Photo Essay

Newark, NJ – The early season is designed to prepare you for conference competition. There are a few easy games, some challenges and ideally, a cross section of styles suited to prepare you for the league. It still remains very difficult to truly simulate the intensity and urgency of conference skirmishes.

Fifteenth-ranked St. John’s entered the Prudential Center with the glow of a national rank. They exited 0­-1 in Big East play as Seton Hall claimed a 78-­67 victory. The game held on New Year’s Eve gave Pirate fans an opportunity to jump start their celebration. And they did.

St. John’s led for most of the opening half before a meltdown in the final minutes saw the home team take a five-point lead into the break. The Seton Hall lead reached 14 in the final half. St. John’s responded by cutting it to two with just over five minutes left. Resiliency. An oft-overworked term by coaches and writers alike. It described Seton Hall’s ability to regroup, never surrender the lead and go on for a big win.

The Hall standouts included Sterling Gibbs, who shared game scoring honors with D’Angelo Harrison of St. John’s with 25 points. Jaren Sina added 14 and Angel Delgado scored 13, adding a game-high 12 rebounds. But on this afternoon, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard was proud of his team’s ability to respond to that Red Storm rally.

For Steve Lavin of St. John’s, no time to lament over an expected drop in ranking. Within the next few days, Butler and Villanova await. Time to get back to the gym and make adjustments. All part of the rigors and challenges of conference play.

Ray with Rebecca, Amanda and Gabby of the excellent Seton Hall cheer squad:
Sir'Dominic Pointer of St. John's setting a screen to free the ball handler:
D'Angelo Harrison of St. John's casts a wary eye at a fan as official Michael Stephens gets set to inbound the ball:
A two-possession game with just over two minutes to go...an eternity for the coach ahead, sands racing down the hourglass for the one trailing:
Kevin Willard of Seton Hall applauds the effort:
Sterling Gibbs is all concentration on the line:
Steve Lavin meeting the media postgame:

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