Over the weekend, Seton Hall and St. John’s played hard-fought road games with differing outcomes in their quests to continue strong starts in the Big East.
Seton Hall can thank Kadary Richmond’s presence as a playmaker for another stellar showing.
Picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll, Richmond and the Pirates are atop the closely bunched Big East standings heading into Tuesday’s visit from St. John’s in Newark, N.J.
Seton Hall (12-5, 5-1) is on a four-game winning streak and have gone 7-1 in their past eight games. Each of the Pirates’ past four wins came by six points or fewer and were fueled by big showings from Richmond, who is averaging 16.4 points this season and (20.3 points during the winning streak).
Richmond’s latest standout performance occurred in Saturday’s 78-72 win at Butler, when he scored a season-best 24 points for his sixth 20-point effort this season. The senior guard made 8 of 18 shots and added 12 rebounds and five assists.
Richmond is shooting 48.2 percent after shooting 41.7 percent last season and heads into Tuesday coming off consecutive Big East Player of the Week honors.
“I think (Kadary’s) got a long way to go,” Seton Hall coach Shaheen Holloway said on his postgame radio interview Saturday. “I still think his best basketball is ahead of him.
“He’s starting to understand it, starting to get it. I’ve got to get him to stop turning the basketball over, but you know what? He made some big plays down the stretch.”
St. John’s (12-5, 4-2) heads across the Hudson River riding an impressive start in conference play under first-year coach Rick Pitino. The Red Storm’s lone conference losses are by four points at UConn Dec. 23 and Saturday’s 66-65 loss at Creighton.
Against UConn, the Red Storm scored two points in the final four-plus minutes, and Saturday they held a nine-point lead midway through the second half before being outscored 19-10 over the final nine-plus minutes. St. John’s gave up an offensive rebound that led to Creighton’s game-winning shot.
Joel Soriano posted his 10th double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Daniss Jenkins added 11 in a game with 18 lead changes that ended with Jordan Dingle missing the game-winning shot.
“I don’t think this one hurts any more (than UConn),” Dingle said. “Those were both games that we could have won; we had the lead and we should have done more to sustain it.”
–Field Level Media
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