Shorthanded St. John's Falls to No. 23/24 Seton Hall, 75-70|
Dec. 31, 2017
NEWARK, N.J. - Despite playing without the services of its two leading scorers due to injuries, the St. John's men's basketball team battled No. 23/24 Seton Hall to the bitter end, falling to the Pirates, 75-70, at the Prudential Center on Sunday.
Trailing Seton Hall (13-2, 2-0 BIG EAST) by as many as 15 in the second half, the Johnnies (10-4, 0-2 BIG EAST) narrowed their deficit to just one in the waning minutes of the contest, but proved unable to completely erase the disadvantage.
For the second time in the team's last three games, Justin Simon narrowly missed the program's first triple-double since Ron Artest in 1999. The sophomore from Temecula, Calif., tallied 15 points, a career-high 10 assists and eight rebounds. Simon became the first St. John's player since Sir'Dominic Pointer on Dec. 7, 2013, against Fordham to record double-digit assists in a game.
Tariq Owens set a pair of career-highs and notched his second double-double of the season with 19 points and 14 rebounds. The 6-foot-11 forward knocked down eight of his 12 tries from the floor, including two of his four chances from three-point range. One of the nation's top rim protectors, Owens also tallied four blocks.
After Owens scored the first four points of the game for the Red Storm, Seton Hall responded with a 5-0 spurt to take a one-point lead with just over three minutes gone in the contest.
With his team trailing by one, Owens anchored a 10-0 run for the Johnnies, draining a triple and throwing a down a thunderous alley-oop from Simon on the tear.
Trailing by nine, 14-5, following the St. John's run, Seton Hall answered with a successful stretch of its own, rattling off the game's next 11 points to reclaim the lead. Overall, the Pirates expanded their run to 17-4 before an Ahmed triple and a three-point play from Simon pulled the Johnnies back ahead by a pair, 24-22, with 8:12 to go in the half.
Down by two, 31-29, after a few minutes of back-and-forth action, the Johnnies saw Seton Hall rip off a 12-2 run, pulling ahead by 12, 43-31, with 1:38 to go in the half. The Red Storm then held the Pirates scoreless over the remainder of the period, using a Clark jumper to get within 10, 43-33, at the break.
After the two teams traded buckets to open the half, the Johnnies rattled off eight-straight points, shaving the deficit down to two, 45-43. Simon had four points on the tear and assisted on the other two St. John's baskets, the last of which was a fast-break alley-oop for Clark with just over three minutes gone in the period.
Seton Hall responded to the St. John's threat with 13 unanswered over the next three-plus minutes, taking a 58-43 lead with 13:40 to go.
With the Red Storm facing its largest deficit of the contest, Clark knocked down back-to-back triples to pull the Red Storm back within single digits, 58-49. From there, the Red Storm continued to chip away at the Seton Hall advantage, moving within two, 60-58, following another Clark three-ball near the seven-minute mark.
After an Angel Delgado layup and a Desi Rodriguez free throw bumped the Seton Hall lead back to five, the Johnnies scored the game's next four points, pulling within just one, 63-62, with 4:11 to play.
Seton Hall, thanks in part to a technical foul against the St. John's bench, built its lead back to as many as seven, 72-65, with 1:24 to go. The Johnnies had one last burst left in the tank, as Owens nailed a triple and Simon made a layup through contact to make it a one-possession game, 73-70, with 41 seconds to go. St. John's was unable to close the gap; however, as the Pirates escaped with a 75-70 victory.
The Red Storm returns to action on Wednesday, traveling to No. 25/23 Creighton for an 8 p.m. ET tip-off.
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