The team went traveled to Newark to face Big East leader Seton Hall (20-7, 12-3) and did the same, largely due to their opponents stifling defense.
The Pirates, who entered the contest ranked 16th in the AP Poll, restricted St. John’s to only 2-of-15 from the field in the game’s first 6:24. Seton Hall led 25-8 with 7:13 left in the first half, putting St. John’s in an immediate precarious position.
After trailing 36-22 at halftime, the Johnnies posted seven consecutive points to narrow the deficit following the opening whistle of the second half.
It would be the closest the Red Storm would come the rest of the way, and despite scoring 43 second half points, St. John’s dropped the contest by a final tally of 81-65. It was Seton Hall’s second consecutive victory, and the Pirates will remain alone atop the Big East.
“They’ve got a lot of talent on that team,” said Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson. “As bad as we played in the first half, we turned it over, we missed layups, a few air balls, the nerves were going, I thought in the second half we came out with a bit more fight in us.
We cut it down to single digits and then they would make a big play,” he added. “That’s what good teams do. Can’t knock the effort of our guys, we just went against a better team today.”
Pacing the St. John’s offense was leading scorer LJ Figueroa, who netted 19 points, but only shot 6-of-17. Freshman Julian Champagnie added 14 ponts and 11 rebounds, but only hit on 5-of-16 attempts from the field.
St. John’s as a whole struggled, shooting 24-of-71 against Seton Hall, hitting just 33.8 percent of their attempts.
Conversely, Seton Hall was 48.2 percent from the floor, or 27-of-56, which proved to be the difference.
Big East Player of the Year candidate Myles Powell led the charge with 18 points for the Pirates, though he only shot 6-of-18 from the field and 2-of-11 from three.
Sandro Mamukelashvili added 16 points and 10 boards while shooting 5-of-9, and New Rochelle native Jared Rhoden finished with 14 points on only five attempts.
“They’ve got a good team,” said Anderson, singing the Pirates’ praises. “Knock on wood they don’t get anybody hurt, and they’ve got a chance.”