The Seton Hall Pirates and St. John's Red Storm have duked it out nearly 100 times over their resepctive program's histories. In recent times, St. John's has held a stranglehold on the rivalry, winning four of the last five meetings with the Pirates. Intriguingly enough, before that streak started, it was The Hall who held a similar advantage over the Johnnis, winning four of the last five before that stretch of dominance was started by the Red Storm.
This is a new St. John's though. The Red Storm have been seeking answers, and victories, over their last 10 game. They fought hard in a loss to Marquette over the weekend but that came on the heels of two 20-point losses in back-to-back games. Fight hard they have, but it appears we've reached the point where the Red Storm are simply getting outclassed and outplayed in almost every facet.
That same thing, unfortunately for the Johnnies, rang true again on Wednesday night. The Seton Hall Pirates faced an early deficit to the Johnnies but ran roughshod over them after gaining control. They simply never looked back after retaking the lead early in the first half and picked up the victory by the score of 79-60 to improve to 14-6 and an even 4-4 record in BIG EAST play.
Chipping in in spades was sophomore Angel Delgado. Delgado, who has played well in BIG EAST play, matching what we saw from him last year if not at a higher level, grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds vs. the Johnnies Wednesday night. Delgado added 15 points on 12 shots as well to get into double figures for only the fourth time in BIG EAST play thus far. A performance like this, though, could go a long way to getting him on a run.
Edging out Delgado's 15-point performance was sophomore Isaiah Whitehead. Whitehead dropped 19 points on the Johnnies, making for his eighth consecutive double figure game in a row. The Brooklyn native bridged together a big performance against their rivals east of the Hudson River, adding three assists, seven rebounds, one block and two steals in 30 minutes of action.
Nine players scored at least two points on Wednesday night in Newark for the Pirates. Khadeen Carrington chipped in 11, Desi Rodriguez added eight and six boards as well, and Derrick Gordon and Ismael Sanogo had eight points scored as well.
For St. John's, it was another sign that there's a long way to to. The Red Storm shot 21-for-72 against the Pirates and 6-for-16 from the 3-point line. They were performed in the paint 44-20, on the break 9-4 and on second chance points 16-8. They lost the rebounding battle 56-40 and 15-11 on the offensive boards.Leading for the Johnnies Wednesday night was Christian Jones. Jones scored 15 points and had five rebounds as well on a 6-for-12 night from the field. Kassoum Yakwe blocked four shots, had eight points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds against the Pirates. Durand Johnson, Ron Mvouika, and Federico Mussini added nine points each while Malik Ellison joined Yakwe with eight points scored as well.
Here's what we learned from this game:
1. St. John's search for win #1 marches on: With Seton Hall's turnover-prone selves rearing their head early it looked like St. John's was about to capitalize on the Pirates' mistakes and perhaps swing their way towards win number one. Their search however was denied Wednesday night as they fell by another big margin to the Pirates. Their pursuit doesn't get any easier as they'll welcome the dangerous Villanova Wildcats to Madison Square Garden on Sunday. They pulled some magic out against the Syracuse Orange way back when and will likely have to pull some more out of their hat if they want to pull off a shocking upset like that. For now, the search continues.
2. Seton Hall's search for a tourney appearance improves: It's been 10 long years since the Pirates have gotten fitted for their dancing shoes and with each win they pick up, the likelihood that they'll go dancing again increases. Wednesday night was no different as Seton Hall avoided a trap and bulldozed the Red Storm in Newark. KenPom projects a 20-10 record with a 10-8 mark in conference play the rest of the way with a big matchup looming against Creighton this Saturday. The Jays spanked the Pirates in Newark last time around so The Hall will no doubt be looking for revenge. If they can steal a win on the road in Omaha against a Creighton team fighting for a bid as well, that could go a LONG way towards a berth in the Field of 68.
3. Angel Delgado is avoiding the sophomore slump: Perhaps because the conference is littered with big names, reigning BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Angel Delgado may not be getting a lot of press. But with that said, Delgado's 2015-16 season is looking a lot like his freshman year at The Hall. The Dominican Republic native's rebounding rates might be slightly down but where he's made up for it is in his efficiency.
After Wednesday night's 7-of-12 night against the Johnnies, he raised his eFG% and TS% in conference play to 53.6 percent and 55.2 percent respectively. There's a long way to go but those are already on pace to bust past his 52.9 percent and 51.6 percent marks last season in conference play. He might be a little inconsistent in scoring but this 15 and 17 night could be exactly what he needs to gain more confidence and improve his play going forward.