The Pirates Steal the Lead Against the Red Storm
On Saturday night, the Seton Hall Pirates hosted St. John’s Red Storm at the Prudential Center. The game, which was slated to be a thriller, ended in a major upset. With just over three seconds left on the clock, St. John’s held loosely to a two point lead, forcing a late game steal. However, an inadvertent whistle, that the referees tried to explain away, resulted with the ball back in Seton Hall’s hands. Seton Hall’s guard, Shavar Reynolds, managed to nail a game winning three, sealing the Red Storm’s fate. Now, while many upset fans are calling foul against the referees, the Red Storm had several flaws that contributed to the loss.
Poor Inside Defense
Defense wins games, which is something that the Red Storm failed to remember in the second half. Seton Hall shot a remarkably poor percentage from the three point line, forcing them to drive to the basket. The Red Storm, throughout the game, were simply unable to play inside defense. Too often the team either rotated late or didn’t rotate at all, giving the Pirates far too many opportunities. While St. John’s guarded the perimeter well, they still allowed far too many offensive rebounds and inside buckets. Simply put, the Red Storm didn’t come out to play inside defense, and it cost them dearly.
In the beginning of the game, St. John’s moved the ball well. Shooters were getting opened and were able to find the bottom of the net thanks to great passing. However, the story changed in the second half. Slowly, but surely, the Red Storm reverted to isolated hero ball. On far too many possessions players like Shamorie Ponds and Justin Simon opted to do dribble moves and take bad shots instead of sharing the ball. The obvious result was the team had far too many empty possessions to maintain their lead. Without solid ball movement, the team’s offense lost its prior productivity, making it almost impossible to win the game.
One of the biggest criticisms against head coach Chris Mullin is his decision making. That flaw was certainly on display against Seton Hall. When the bad shots started to fly, Mullin should have grounded his players and get them to the stick to the first half’s game plan. Instead, he let the clock run without calling a timeout, watching his players take bad shot after bad shot. Now, Chris Mullin is a Hall of Fame basketball player, but as a coach he still has more to prove to the fans. If he can’t reign his guys in, they won’t go very far in the Big East.
Now, whether or not the referees made a bad call depends on who you ask. St. John’s making several mistakes to lose the game, on the other hand, is a fact. A bad call should not have been enough to make or break the game for the Red Storm. Now, the team isn’t lacking talent, just a foundation. To win in the Big East, the team will need to play better from a fundamental stand point. Fans will also be expecting Coach Mullin to step up and really lead this team. The Red Storm has the potential to be better, but until they fix the holes in their game, they’ll have a lot more losses like this one.