This group of St. John’s seniors is used to sitting out the second day of the Big East tournament. Only this year, it might not be caused by elimination.
Two more wins, starting tonight at Seton Hall, and the 15th-ranked Red Storm are guaranteed a double bye in next week’s Big East tournament. St. John’s has more wins against ranked teams than anyone in the country, but all of those wins had been at the Garden until Saturday. After never trailing and using a 16-4 finishing kick to take out No. 14 Villanova 81-68, the Red Storm seem primed to end a 13-year road losing skid to the Pirates.
“We proved we can beat a good team on the road,” said Dwight Hardy, who scored a career-high 34 points. “We can come out with the same intensity we had at MSG.”
That intensity has picked up on both ends of the floor, as the conference’s worst 3-point defense held Villanova to 31 percent shooting. Seton Hall enters tonight’s matchup shooting a Big East-worst 28.4 percent beyond the arc.
“There’s a resolve in these guys to finish their careers on a high note,” coach Steve Lavin said.