By Jerry Del Priore
After being ahead for approximately 40 minutes, St. John’s allowed Seton Hall to take its first lead in the final minute of action before Shavar Reyonds buried a three-pointer as time ticked away, giving the Pirates the thrilling win, and handing the Red Storm its first defeat of the season Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
However, the game did have its fair share of controversy. After missing consecutive front ends of a one-and-one and leading by a point, 74-73, St. John’s LJ Figueroa swatted a Myles Powell layup onto to Broad Street with 3.9 seconds left in the tilt.
On the ensuing inbound pass, Figueroa, a junior guard/forward, appeared to steal the ball and knocked it back into play before falling out-of-bounds. But the refs ruled him out-of-bounds. After several minutes of review for what the BIG EAST described as a “timing error,” the Pirates (10-3) retained possession with 3.1 seconds on the clock. The rest was history.
The refs misgiving aside, the Red Storm (12-1) let the tilt slip away. Seton Hall outscored the Jonnies, 17-5, over a six-minute period, tying the game at 69 with 3:30 to go.
But red shirted senior forward Marvin Clark II banged a trey home with 2:26 to play, putting the Red Storm back up by three, 72-69. The Pirates then scored four-straight points, taking their first lead of the game on New Jersey native Myles Powell’s lay-up with a minute left on the clock.
Junior guard Mustapha Heron drained two free throws to give the Johnnies a one-point advantage, 74-73, with 44 seconds left in the contest. Neither team managed to find the bottom of the net before the game’s final three seconds.
Heron led St. John’s with 19 points, while Clark and red shirted junior guard Justin Simon chipped in with 16 apiece. Brooklyn-born junior point guard Shamorie Ponds posted eight points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals in 38 minutes of play. LJ Figueroa also tailed eight points, plus seven rebounds and two thefts.
Powell guided Seton Hall with 15 points, while a quartet of players all contributed 14: Quincy McKnight, Sandro Makukelashvili and Michael Nzei, who also grabbed 10 boards. Makukelashvili collected eight rebounds in the victory.
The Red Storm returns to the hardwood Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., playing host to No. 18/20 Marquette at Carnesecca Arena.