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Seton Hall 81, Saint John's 65

NEWARK, N.J. - In the week since coach Kevin Willard challenged Seton Hall for coming out flat at Providence, the Pirates have responded by living up to expectations.

Myles Powell scored 18 points, Sandro Mamukelashvili added 16 points and nine rebounds and No. 16 Seton Hall beat St. John's 81-65.

"There are times in a season where you have to get on your team and you have to know your team and when to get on them, and no one knows them better than me," Willard said. "I wasn't worried about how they would respond."

The Pirates (20-7, 12-3 Big East) answered with two straight victories to maintain the inside track on the regular-season conference title.

Jared Rhoden added 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting and Romero Gill had 12 points while going 6 for 6 from the floor in in the wire-to-wire victory.

"We been together so long, we know our potential," Mamukelashvili said. "And we know that if we play hard and we play defense, and rebound, we get good looks."

LJ Figueroa led St. John's (14-13, 3-11 Big East) with 19 points, while Julian Champagnie had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Pirates began pulling away midway through the first half. Powell threw a nifty hook pass over his shoulder to Mamukelashvili in transition, which the big man finished with a dunk to give Seton Hall a 20-6 advantage with 9 minutes to go in the half.

"When you have a big man like that, who can put the ball on the ground, shoot - it just makes everything a lot easier when people are double-teaming me," Powell said.

St. John's didn't reach double digits until Rasheem Dunn hit a jumper to make it 25-10 with 6:52 left. After leading by as many as 17, Seton Hall was up 36-22 at the break.

"We were fortunate we were down 14 as bad as we played in the first half," St. John's coach Mike Anderson said. "We turned it over, we didn't shoot the ball well, we missed five or six layups and shot a few airballs. I though in the second half we came out with a little bit more punch and fight in us."

St. John's chipped away and got back within single digits on a three-point play by Figueroa that made it 36-27 with 18:30 left. The Red Storm got within seven a couple of times but no closer. Seton Hall led by as many as 23 points in the second half.

"I still don't feel like we're at our best," Powell said. "And I feel like March is going to be our best basketball."

Associated Press

February 23, 2020

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