Adding to the agony of Seton Hall’s defeat at the hands of St. John’s was the number of local players that helped the Red Storm do it.
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Tony Bozzella quietly studied the stat sheet. On a ‘Pink Day’ for a bigger cause the Seton Hall coach’s mood might have been color red, a bit embarrassment spiced with frustration.
“Disgusting,” the Seton Hall coach said. “We were outplayed and out coached.”
In assessing St. John’s’ 69-48 victory over the Hall at Walsh Gym on Saturday you could point to the 52% field goal percentage surrendered by the Pirates. On their end, the Hall could manage just 31% shooting from the floor going 0-for-12 from beyond the arc. You could notice the 42-32 rebounding edge the visitors enjoyed. Then, as Bozzella noted, there were the two assists stacked up against 13 turnovers.
But the thing that upset the Hall mentor the most? St. John’s was getting the job done with homegrown talent.
Junior forward Amber Thompson and sophomore guard Aliyyah Handford are from Newark and played high school ball, at University and Shabazz respectively, less than five miles from the Seton Hall campus. Freshman Jade Walker, lives about two miles away in nearby Maplewood. Sophomore guard Danaejah Grant is another New Jersey native hailing from Piscataway. Thompson and Handford are already St. John’s veterans. The latter two emerging players of note. All four made significant contributions for St. John’s winners of eight straight and 9-1 in conference.
“We have to do a better job of keeping these type kids home,” Bozzella said. “I fault the prior staff. You have to get involved with these kids. You can’t let home gown talent like that get away. Look at the fans today. I think they (St. John’s) had more fans because those local kids had friends and family cheering them on.”
Bozzella is not feeling sorry for himself over the situation. Rather he is more determined and focused on not letting these talented local players choose to play at other schools. Especially ones you are competing against in your own conference.
Getting back to the game, the Seton Hall (now 3-4 in conference) mentor said, “there is no excuse for our play today.” He did add and emphasize, “They (St. John’s) are better and showed today why they lead our league.”
The numbers of note:
St. John’s led in almost every category. They shot 5 of 12 (42%) from three while shutting out Seton Hall (0 for 12 from beyond the arc). The offensive rebounding edge contributed to their ability to get to the line and dominate free throw rate. The lone drawback, and sure it was addressed by St. John’s coach Joe Tartamella, the turnover rate. Very high on St. John’s part and led to a Seton Hall 17-13 edge in points off turnovers.
St. John’s led bench scoring 31-0 and put four players in double figures. Danaejah Grant led the way, in reserve to little surprise, with 14 points for St. John’s. Ka-Deidre Simmons of Seton Hall led all scorers with 16.
Seton Hall was beaten on the offensive glass but Alexis Brown, a junior guard, led all with 6 offensive rebounds. Brown finished with 11 points and a game high 11 rebounds.
While Seton Hall’s ball movement was less than creditable, St. John’s assisted on 62% of their field goals. The Red Storm hit 24 field goals, 15 assisted.