The Seton Hall men’s basketball team overpowered St. John’s Wednesday night en route to a 79- 60 beating over the Red Storm.
It was not always easy for the Pirates, who found themselves in a back-and-forth affair with the Johnnies in the first half, which resulted in just an eight-point lead for the Pirates at the break.
“We came out a little too lackadaisical defensively, and I thought once we settled in a little bit defensively we made them take some tough shots and we were able to get some easy buckets to kind of get us going,” head coach Kevin Willard said.
However, a fast start to the second half is where the Pirates created some distance. The team ripped off a 30-8 run after the Red Storm had an 18-10 lead midway through the first half.
“The start of the second half cost us the game,” St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin said. “More importantly, there was no resistance. They were able to do whatever they wanted to do.”
Mullin was right to a certain extent. Down low, the Pirates physically outplayed the Red Storm, especially on the back of center Angel Delgado. Delgado finished with yet another double-double in the win, tallying 15 points and 17 rebounds.
“I think Angel was extreme- ly excited he didn’t have to go against (Daniel) Ochefu (of Villanova),” Willard said. “I think, for Angel, his eyes kind of lit up in the first half knowing he wasn’t getting worn down like he was against the guys he’s had to battle in the last five games.”
As a team, the Pirates out rebounded St. John’s 56-40 defensively and 15-11 offensively.
“We’re naturally a good rebounding team, but we’re not great on the defensive side,” Willard said. “We’re one of the best offensive rebounding teams and I think having Ish (Ismael Sanogo) and Desi (Rodriguez) out there gives us a chance to get some rebounds and some second-chance points.”
The win moves SHU to 14-6 overall and 4-4 in the Big East.
“Being at 3-4, I thought we were in great position,” Willard said. “Now being 4-4 is right where I thought we’d be. It’s right where we want to be.”
The win breaks a two-game losing streak for the Pirates in which they played two top-five teams in the country.
“I think it was very important off of the tough losses we had,” said Isaiah Whitehead, who finished with 19 points. “It was two tough teams that we faced. So just to come home and get a W, it means a lot.”
From here, the Pirates will travel to take on the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday, Jan. 30. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
David Heim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DavidHeim12.