NEW YORK, NY - In a basketball game where a Seton Hall loss could have changed the good feelings of over a month of stellar play, the Pirates instead narrowly defeated St. John's 62-61 at Madison Square Garden.
Seton Hall's star sophomore guard Isaiah Whitehead sealed the contest with a pair of free-throws with 5 seconds left in the game.
St. John's came into the game with only one Big East win while Seton Hall was sitting alone in third place, winners of 5 of its last 6 in conference play. Still this was not necessarily going to be a easy victory for the Pirates.
"This was a game that I looked over the last week-and- half. I thought was going to be our toughest game," said Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard. "My New York kids coming back to the Garden. I thought St. John's was playing harder than anyone in the conference"
Seton Hall was paced today by the sophomore Desi Rodriguez, who scored a career-high 24 points. The Pirates leading scorer Isaiah Whitehead finished with only 10 points - almost 7 points below his season average - but it was his defense and foul shooting that proved to help Seton Hall the most. He fished with a career high 6 steals and was 8 of 10 from the foul line.
After Whitehead hit the eventual winning free throws, St. John's still had a chance to hit the game winner; however, the Pirates defense ultimately did not allow the Red Storm to get a shot off.
"That was just an old-school, grind it out game," said Willard. "Both teams played extremely hard. We got lucky enough to make free throws at the end."
For St. John's, the freshman Kassoum Yakwe scored a career-high 16 points and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.
Seton Hall is back home for the next two games against nationally ranked opponents Providence on Thursday, February 25, and Xavier on Sunday, February 28.