Isaiah Whitehead sank two free throws with five seconds remaining to secure a 62-61 victory for the Seton Hall Pirates over the St. John's Red Storm.
The Pirates barely held off a late comeback from St. John's after leading by 14 at the half, avoiding what would have been a massive hit to their Tournament hopes.
Seton Hall got off to an early 13-0 lead, as St. John's started the game shooting 0-of-6 from the floor. Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington were lethal from downtown, as they were able to find plenty of open looks from the corners. Rodriguez and Carrington finished the game as Seton Hall's leading scorers, as they recorded 24 and 12 points, respectively.
The Pirates led by as many as 18 early on, and seemed to take their foot off the gas pedal after the intermission. After netting only 22 points in the first half, St. John's found their scoring touch to begin the second period. The Johnnies used an 8-0 run coming out of the break to cut the lead to six points.
After Seton Hall was able to regain a double digit lead, St. John's turned the pressure on defensively. The Red Storm blocked a total of 10 shots in the game, led by freshman Kassoum Yakwe's four rejections. Yakwe was the key ignitor of the St. John's comeback attempt, as he terrorized the Pirates on the offensive glass as well. He finished with career highs of 16 points and 15 rebounds.
St. John's was able to take a 4 point lead with just over a minute to go, but Seton Hall used some timely defense of their own, forcing two turnovers in the final minute of play. After being fouled scooping up a loose ball, Whitehead calmly made his free throws to give Seton Hall a one point victory.
The Pirates can exhale after that one, but they cannot be feeling good about almost blowing an 18-point lead to the last place team in the conference. Kevin Willard must hope that this game was more of a wake up call for his team, as Seton Hall was possibly feeling a little too secure about their chances of making the dance.