Rivals St. John’s and Seton Hall try to secure Big East bye
St. John’s and Seton Hall finish the regular season Saturday at Carnesecca Arena in Queens, N.Y., with both teams trying to lock down a top-five seed and the accompanying bye into the quarterfinal round of next week’s Big East tournament.
The Red Storm (15-10 overall, 9-9 Big East) improved to 10-3 at home this season with an 81-67 victory over Providence on Wednesday. St. John’s outscored the Friars by a 51-26 margin in the second half, with Rasheem Dunn paving the way by scoring 18 of his season-high 21 points after intermission.
Dunn made 7 of 8 shots from the floor in the second half to help the Red Storm adjust to the absence of Posh Alexander, who is sidelined with a right thumb injury. Alexander averages club-best totals in assists (4.4) and steals (2.6).
“It just tells you a lot about our basketball team, the character of our basketball team,” St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said. “We always talk about staying together, even when adversity hits.”
Julian Champagnie, who leads St. John’s in scoring (19.8) and rebounding (7.3), collected 16 and 10 Wednesday for his seventh double-double of the season. Greg Williams Jr. finished with 15 points and Isaih Moore had 10 points, 11 boards and three assists off the bench.
Back on Dec. 11 in the Big East opener, Champagnie scored 24 points for St. John’s in a 77-68 setback at Seton Hall.
Seton Hall (13-11, 10-8) dropped a 69-58 decision to UConn on Wednesday and finds itself in its second three-game losing skid of the season.
Sandro Mamukelashvili registered his fifth double-double of the season by recording 20 points and 10 rebounds against the Huskies. Despite posting impressive numbers, Mamukelashvili took issue with his team’s performance.
“This was all on us,” Mamukelashvili told NJ.com. “We played hard, we tried. Sometimes we get hot-headed and try to do too much on the offensive end. We gotta stop being too low or too high and just stay on balance.
“It’s really hard for us right now. We’re going to keep our heads high.”
Mamukelashvili scored a career-high 32 points in the previous meeting with St. John’s. Jared Rhoden had just five points in that contest, but Wednesday he scored 16 points against UConn with a 6-of-9 shooting performance. The rest of the team, however, made just 16 of 46 shots against the Huskies.
–Field Level Media