St. John’s on Saturday sure seemed to have the right recipe to cook up an upset of No. 18 Seton Hall at the Garden.
The Red Storm got 20 points off 19 turnovers and had 15 offensive rebounds, 18 second-chance points and 36 points in the paint. Big guns Mustapha Heron and LJ Figueroa both played well and shot a combined 50%. Josh Roberts tied a career high in scoring.
The one thing St. John’s didn’t have in its mix was an answer for Pirates star Myles Powell. The 6-2 senior guard scored 23 of his 29 points in the second half — including the 2,000th of his career — as Seton Hall erased a 13-point halftime deficit and earned an 82-79 Big East win over St. John’s before 10,428.
It was the eighth straight win for the Pirates (14-4, 6-0). Four of their six Big East victories have come on the road, including Wednesday’s takedown of No. 5 Butler.
St. John’s (12-7, 1-5) continues to play far better than expected but has dropped five of six.
“I was proud of our effort and I’m not into moral victories,” Red Storm coach Mike Anderson said. “We lost a game at home and that’s got to hurt, but . . . against a very, very good opponent, Seton Hall, we gave ourselves a chance.”
Powell scored seven points in the final 2:29, including a three-point play that gave the Pirates a 75-73 lead with 1:37 to play. Figueroa (16 points) fouled out on the play.
Heron, who led the Red Storm with 18 points, didn’t get the ball at all down the stretch; his last shot came with 5:57 left and his last points were two free throws with 5:29 left to give St. John’s a 67-66 lead.
Asked about not getting the ball late, he replied: “My teammates make plays; I don’t need to have the ball all the time.”
But Anderson took issue with the premise of the question. “Why would that occur [to you]?” he said. “You saw a great ballgame. That’s how guys become individuals. To me, the question doesn’t make any sense.”
Anderson was asked if he was fine with his senior leader not getting the ball down the stretch and answered: “No. I think that’s something we’re going to work on in terms of trying to get it to him.”
Rasheem Dunn had the ball in his hands and attacked the rim for the Red Storm late. He scored on a drive with 1:21 left to tie it at 75. After Seton Hall’s Quincy McKnight made one of two free throws and Dunn was called for charging, Powell scored on a driving layup with 29 seconds left for a three-point lead.
Dunn drove and scored with 20 ticks left, but St. John’s then had to foul, and Seton Hall made all four of its free throws in the remaining time. St. John’s had a chance to tie it, but Dunn couldn’t keep the handle and dished to Marcellus Earlington, whose three-point attempt at the buzzer was way short.
Roberts had 16 points and eight rebounds for St. John’s. McKnight scored 20 points and Romaro Gill had 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks for the Pirates.
St. John’s next two games are at Marquette and DePaul, and Anderson thinks the good results are bound to come, saying: “I like how this team responded to tough losses.”