St. John's stirring four-game winning streak came to an end Wednesday night, as they lost to Marquette, while Seton Hall gutted out a unique win over Providence Thursday afternoon.
This comes ahead of the big showdown between the Red Storm and Pirates Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Seton Hall won the first meeting of the season between the two schools, a 75-70 victory in Newark on December 31.
Seton Hall enters the game now on a two-game winning streak with a record of 8-7 in Big East play, fifth in the conference and an overall record of 19-9. St. John's dropped to 3-12 in Big East play (14-14 overall) on Wednesday, and is now locked into the bottom four of the conference, meaning they will have to play in the first round of the Big East Tournament on Wednesday, March 7. The Red Storm will have to win four games in as many nights to clinch their first conference championship since 2000, a feat that has not been accomplished since UConn's remarkable run in 2011, when the Huskies won five games in five days en route to an improbable national championship victory.
MARQUETTE 85, ST. JOHN'S 73
Marquette, who improved to 7-8 in the Big East and 16-11 overall, led by as many as 20 points with 3:12 remaining.
Playing without leading scorer Markus Howard, the Golden Eagles were led by Sam Hauser, who had 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, including a superb 5-for-7 from beyond the arc, with five assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Andrew Rowsey had 19 points (7-for-16 FG, 4-for-12 three-pointers), eight assists, a rebound, and a steal. Jamal Cain, Greg Elliott, and Sacar Anim had 11 points each. For St. John's, Shamorie Ponds, who came into this one averaging 32 points a game over his prior five performances, was held to just 19 points on 5-for-18 shooting. Freshman Bryan Trimble matched Ponds with 19 points of his own on 7-of-9 shooting and 5-of-7 on threes, setting a career-high point total in the process. Justin Simon added 14 points, six assists, and five rebounds for the Red Storm.
SETON HALL 89, PROVIDENCE 77
This game began Wednesday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, but was suspended with 13:03 left in the second half due to unsafe floor conditions, with Seton Hall leading 56-47 at the time play was halted.
Desi Rodriguez, the Pirates' leading scorer and senior wing, sprained his left ankle as he slipped making a cut to from the baseline late in the first half and had to leave the game. He had scored nine points prior to the injury, one head coach Kevin Willard announced would keep him from suiting up Saturday against St. John's. Seton Hall hopes to have the Bronx native back in the lineup on Wednesday, when Villanova visits the Prudential Center.
The game resumed at noon Thursday on Providence's campus, and as expected, the Friars came out energized before the Alumni Hall crowd, coming within one point of the Pirates after Kyron Cartwright's three-pointer with 8:50 remaining in regulation. Seton Hall's Ismael Sanogo came right back with a three of his own, and that was the start of a 9-1 Pirate run capped by a Myles Powell three that made the score 68-59 in favor of the visitors with 6:43 left.
Myles Cale stepped up in a big way, as he scored five straight for The Hall to make it 77-66 with 2:51 to go. The freshman finished with eight points off the bench. Khadeen Carrington, whose 25 points led the Pirates, essentially sealed the outcome on a jumper with 1:25 on the clock, which gave Seton Hall an 81-71 advantage at that juncture. Myles Powell finished with 20 points while Angel Delgado recorded his 69th career double-double and 19th of the season, amassing 14 points and 11 rebounds.