Home U.S Seton Hall into Big East semis, beats St. John's 77-69 in OT

Seton Hall into Big East semis, beats St. John's 77-69 in OT

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Jared Rhoden hit six free throws in overtime to finish with 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and Seton Hall got past St. John’s 77-69 in the Big East tournament quarterfinals Thursday to snap an untimely four-game skid.

Sandro Mamukelashvili had 20 points and 11 rebounds in 44 minutes for the fifth-seeded Pirates (14-12), who desperately needed a win to boost an NCAA Tournament resume that seemed pretty solid not so long ago.

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Myles Cale added 16 points and eight boards, and Ike Obiagu blocked seven shots before fouling out as Seton Hall advanced to face Georgetown in the first semifinal Friday night at Madison Square Garden. The eighth-seeded Hoyas upset top seed and No. 14 Villanova 72-71 earlier in the day.

Big East scoring champ Julian Champagnie led St. John’s with 16 points on 7-of-21 shooting and nine rebounds. Rasheem Dunn scored 15 for the fourth-seeded Red Storm (16-11), who haven’t reached the Big East semifinals since winning the program’s third tournament title in 2000.

Long drought for one of the league’s charter members.

In a possible NCAA Tournament eliminator, Seton Hall avenged an 81-71 road loss to its Hudson River rivals five days earlier in which the Pirates blew an 18-0 cushion. Now, they probably represent the Big East’s best chance to get a fourth team in the NCAA field along with Villanova, Creighton and UConn.

St. John’s tied it at 60 on a 3-pointer from the right corner by Marcellus Earlington with just under two minutes left in regulation. Rasheem Dunn’s two free throws put the Red Storm ahead before Myles Cale pulled the Pirates even on a driving layup with 54 seconds remaining.

Champagnie and Mamukelashvili had late looks but couldn’t convert.

Rhoden’s foul shot 30 seconds into overtime put the Pirates ahead to stay. Rhoden added two more free throws, Cale hit a turnaround in the lane to make it 70-64 with 1:45 to play and Seton Hall closed it out from the line.

It was the first time St. John’s played at Madison Square Garden since that bizarre ending to last year’s Big East tournament, abruptly called off because of the emerging coronavirus pandemic with the Red Storm leading top-seeded Creighton 38-35 at halftime of the initial quarterfinal — negating the first-half statistics.

Normally, the Red Storm schedule high-profile matchups at The Garden, but virus restrictions put all their home games this season on campus at a virtually empty Carnesecca Arena in Queens.

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BIG PICTURE

Seton Hall: After stopping their losing streak perhaps just in time, the Pirates hope a strong run at Madison Square Garden can get them in the NCAAs. Seton Hall is the last program besides Villanova to win the Big East tournament, taking the 2016 title.

St. John’s: If not for February lapses against No. 10 seed Butler and last-place DePaul, the Red Storm would be eyeing an at-large NCAA berth right now. But they still maintain postseason aspirations after a resurgence under second-year coach Mike Anderson. Picked ninth in the Big East preseason coaches’ poll, St. John’s earned a tournament bye for the first time in six years and its highest seed since No. 3 in 2000.

UP NEXT

Seton Hall: Split two meetings with Georgetown this season, with the home team winning each one.

St. John’s: Could be a candidate for a pretty high seed at the NIT in Texas. Pairings for the reduced field of 16 will be announced Sunday night.

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