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Seton Hall beats St. John’s in gutsy overtime affair at MSG, comments on Yahoo! report

The Pirates defeated the Red Storm 81-74 in overtime without their leading scorer to win their third straight and then addressed yesterday’s Yahoo! Sports report.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK, N.Y.—Seton Hall overcame more adversity to defeat St. John’s 81-74 in overtime at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

The Pirates were without their leading scorer Desi Rodriguez who picked up a mild ankle sprain in the win over Providence last time out. Seton Hall was playing for the third day in the last four after having to play for two straight days against Providence due to players slipping on the court and of course the Pirates are dealing with the Yahoo! Sports report that former Pirate star Isaiah Whitehead took tens of thousands of dollars from an agent while at Seton Hall.

It has been a tough few days for Seton Hall, but that didn’t stop them from coming ready to go against St. John’s at MSG.

“I’m really proud of the way these guys focused in and were able to reset their minds on Wednesday night,” Coach Kevin Willard said. “We were very focused and they really respect this St. John’s team.”

Khadeen Carrington led the way with 22 points, including big free throws down the stretch and a slam dunk to cap off the win at the end of overtime. The senior and his teammates learned a lot about themselves again on Saturday.

“I think I learned how deep we can go,” Carrington said. “Everybody had to step up with Desi out and everybody did. I’m proud of my team.”

Angel Delgado was beaten up a bit down low in the game, but still tallied his 70th double-double of his career with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

“I’m a warrior,” Delgado said of the physical play. “I’m not letting my team down right now because something hurts.”

With Rodriguez out, the Pirates used a combination of Myles Cale and walk-on Philip Flory to make up the minutes. Cale was in foul trouble for most of the game, but finished with 10 points and two rebounds. Flory played a career-high 17 minutes and had an assist after only playing in 34 minutes heading into the afternoon.

Despite shooting poorly, Myles Powell made an impact in other way on the way to scoring 18 points on 5-17 shooting, eight rebounds and six assists.

“The guys are pretty used to the quick turnaround,” Willard said. “They are little bit mentally tired. Myles Cale did a phenomenal job.”

Shamorie Ponds had 25 points to lead all scorers, but was held in check for most of the game. Down the stretch, Ponds made some big plays including sending the game to overtime in the final seconds. Marvin Clark II chipped in 19 points as well in the loss.

At the end, the Red Storm were more concerned with the defense as the five Seton Hall starters finished in double figures.

“That speaks for itself, we’ve got to defend,” Clark said. “Offensive rebounding kind of hurt us. If we want to win games that’s what we have to do to win. They didn’t have Rodriguez and still got it done. Tough team.”

Most of the time after the game was seeing what Willard and his players thought about the Yahoo! Sports report that included their former teammate.

Willard was asked after how much the report had to do with the game to which he responded, “Absolutely nothing. Nothing to do with them. We had practice, a nice team meal and they played video games.”

When asked again, Willard explained the current situation with the Pirates and this report.

“The school has put out a statement,” Willard said. “We’ve already hired an outside law firm to come in to investigate. We will be 100 percent open, 100 percent honest. I’ve got great players in my program with a perfect graduation rate.’

“We didn’t talk about (the report),” Willard said about the lead up to the game. “We are focused on this team and what we are doing. I’m enjoying every second with them because I’m going to miss (the seniors).”

Willard was asked directly again about the report and included how he thought they handled it in his response.

“I’m confident that everything we did and everything we were supposed to do will come up clear,” Willard said.

As far as being worried about the possibility of this team losing what they have worked hard to achieve over the last four years, Willard responded:

“Absolutely not. This has been a phenomenal group that has done tremendous things. Again, I’m looking forward to getting the outside law firm in and moving forward.”

When Carrington was asked to comment about his friend and former teammate Whitehead, he declined to comment.

The Pirates improve to 20-9 (9-7) and are now battling for seeding in the Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournament. Seton Hall hosts Villanova on Wednesday night in front of a likely sold-out crowd.

Meanwhile for St. John’s, they fall to 14-15 (3-13) and after DePaul’s win at home over Marquette the Red Storm fall back into last place in the Big East. They welcome Butler to Carnesecca on Wednesday night.