The Seton Hall men’s basketball team looks to rebound from its 77-66 loss at home Tuesday to Marquette when they take on St. John’s tonight.
It will be a quick turnaround for the Pirates, but with the Big East Tournament on the horizon, tonight’s game will be a big test against a possible matchup in next month’s playoffs.
“It might be good, it might be bad,” head coach Kevin Willard said.
“St. John’s is playing really well and they’ve had a couple extra days. We did pretty good against Xavier when we had that short turn- around, so maybe it will help us.”
The two teams met at Carnesecca Arena on Jan. 23, where the Red Storm defeated the Pirates 77-76 after a strong second half. The Pirates jumped out to an early 13-3 lead in the first half, but couldn’t play consistent enough throughout the rest of the game to get the victory.
One issue for the Pirates all season has been second-chance efforts. The Pirates are ranked last in the Big East with only 6.2 offensive re- bounds per game.
“We just have to rebound the ball,” senior Fuquan Edwin said. “They’re very athletic, they’re a big team and they get on the glass harder than Marquette does, so we need to emphasize that.”
The Pirates should be able to improve that number against a St. John’s team that is ranked last in the conference in rebounding defense; however, the Pirates only grabbed four offensive rebounds in the first contest. St. John’s allows 65.5 percent of opponent’s shots to be rebounded.
On the flip side of the rebounding category, St. John’s rebounds roughly 29.8 percent of their offensive shots, and averages 11.1 offensive boards per game, good enough for fourth best in the conference. It will be equally important for the Pirates to take advantage on the defensive side of the ball, something they were unable to do back in the first meeting.
“We only have one day to prepare and they’ve been playing really well lately,” red shirt junior Patrik Auda said.
“But we played a really close game at their place so now we just have to protect our house and try to get the win.”
The Red Storm’s comeback last month was large in part of strong performances from guard D’Angelo Harrison and forward JaKarr Sampson. Both finished with 16 points each.
“We know that everything runs through Harrison and Sampson brings the energy so we just need to focus on that,” Edwin added.
Auda, who led the team with 7 rebounds in the first meeting with St. John’s, said the key for the Pirates in their game against the Red Storm this time around will be playing for the full 40 minutes.
“I think many games in the Big East go up and down and the lead changes all the time, but you just need to keep fighting for 40 minutes and try to be the tougher team,” Auda said.
Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. at the Prudential Center.
David Heim can be reached at email@example.com.