St. John’s blown out by Seton Hall after Rick Pitino misses game with COVID-19: ‘Punked us’

St. John’s blown out by Seton Hall after Rick Pitino misses game with COVID-19: ‘Punked us’

This was how St. Johns used to look in big games pre-Rick Pitino.

Shell-shocked. Unsure of itself. Lacking focus and poise.

Without the Hall of Fame coach, who wasnt on the sideline due to a bout of COVID-19, his team didnt show up Tuesday night.

It took the Johnnies nearly five minutes to score their first points, and the night never really improved.

Seton Hall was by far the better team, riding a head-spinning 28-0 run bridging the end of the first half and start of the second half to an 80-65 beatdown at Prudential Center, sending St. Johns to its second straight road loss.

It fell to 1-12 in the Newark arena all-time, a house of horrors for the Johnnies.

It was terrible from each and every one of us, Daniss Jenkins said, when asked about the effort. Its unacceptable, especially coming off a tough road loss. We were supposed to come out and correct those little things to make us not lose on the road again and instead we did the opposite.

In one of its worst performances of the season, St. Johns trailed by 14 at the break and never got back into the game.

St__John_s_blown_out_by_Seton_Hall_after_Rick_Pitino_misses_game_with_COVID_19___Punked_us4Joel Soriano misses a shot during the first half during St. John’s loss to Seton Hall on Tuesday night. Robert Sabo for NY PostIt was tentative, out-hustled and out-toughed by the gritty, more physical Pirates.

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Steve Masiello, filling in for Pitino, didnt have any answers. Nobody in red did.

Joel Soriano was outplayed by Seton Hall backup center Elijah Hutchins-Everett and sat for the final 14:43 of the second half. Jenkins was St. Johns only starter to reach double figures, with 17 points on 6 of 14 shooting.

Zuby Ejiofor, St. Johns best player on this night, added 13 points and five blocks off the bench.

Former Johnnies guard Dylan Addae-Wusu hurt his old team, producing 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

But this wasnt about any one player.

This was a complete obliteration.

St__John_s_blown_out_by_Seton_Hall_after_Rick_Pitino_misses_game_with_COVID_19___Punked_us4Steve Masiello filled in for St. John’s coach Rick Pitino, who missed the game with COVID-19. Robert Sabo for NY PostSeton Hall (13-5, 6-1) out-rebounded St. Johns by 21, outscored them in the paint, 28-24, and toyed with them for most of the night.

Its just really about taking a step back and really challenging ourselves as men, as players. That team just punked us. Thats all they did, Jenkins said. They played their game. Thats the way we should play. They play for steals, they play aggressive, they crash the offensive glass and they know themselves on offense.

The Johnnies (12-6, 4-3) now face a critical two-game homestand against No. 17 Marquette on Saturday and Villanova four days later.

There is optimism that Pitino will be back by then.

He began to feel symptoms last Thursday, but tested negative on Friday and Saturday.

He began feeling ill again after shootaround on Tuesday and tested positive.

St. Johns was also without guard Jordan Dingle due to COVID, according to a source.

St__John_s_blown_out_by_Seton_Hall_after_Rick_Pitino_misses_game_with_COVID_19___Punked_us4Seton Hall Pirates guard Dre Davis (14) celebrates a Seton Hall Pirates guard Dylan Addae-Wusu (0) 3-pointer during the first half on Tuesday afternoon. Robert Sabo for NY PostIts not about excuses, Masiello said. This is college basketball. Adversitys gonna happen every day, you have to respond to it. We didnt respond very well.

Seton Hall, meanwhile, continued its remarkable run to start the league season.

It is all alone atop the Big East standings at 6-1 after it was picked to finish ninth in the conference. Kadary Richmond, a Big East Player of the Year contender, controlled the game.

He notched 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists and Al-Amir Dawes added 21 points.

The start to the first half was poor and the finish to it was worse.

Seton Hall scored the games first six points and the final 14 of the opening stanza, taking a commanding 14-point lead into the break.

St__John_s_blown_out_by_Seton_Hall_after_Rick_Pitino_misses_game_with_COVID_19___Punked_us4Seton Hall Pirates guard Dylan Addae-Wusu catches a rebound during the second half. Robert Sabo for NY PostOver the final 4:33 of the half, St. Johns went scoreless and committed four turnovers.

It didnt get better after the intermission.

Seton Hall scored the first 14 points, racing out to a 52-24 lead.

It wasnt until Glenn Taylor Jr.s 3-pointer that St. Johns finally scored, ending an 8 /-minute scoring drought.

We knew coming out of halftime, we needed to come out punching, we needed to come out swinging, Jenkins said. It was almost as if we went the other way, went the other direction. Instead of fighting back, its like we gave in.

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