St. John’s can’t climb Hill, falls to the Hall

By Dylan Butler

How ugly was it? Combined, both teams didn't shoot 50 percent from the field in the second half – St. John's shot 27.6 percent and Seton Hall shot 21.9 percent and the Johnnies connected on just 55.6 percent of its free throws.Seton Hall scored 26 points off the Red Storm's 19 turnovers. It was St. John's third straight loss and sixth defeat in its last seven games while Seton Hall won its second in a row after a four-game losing streak. But this loss was especially frustrating for St. John's coach Norm Roberts because it was the first time in quite a while that he complained about a lack of energy. Using a rotation of just eight players, the Red Storm appeared to run out of gas in the second half against both Boston College and Georgetown. But against Seton Hall, that lack of intensity was there from the opening tip.”I was disappointed that we didn't play with the energy that we normally would have but also you've got to move on and correct that and make sure we don't do the same thing against Rutgers,” Roberts said. “We had a great run of playing with unbelievable intensity, but it's a long season. Now what we have to do is get back to the drawing board and improve.”Daryll Hill, who came into the game leading the Big East in scoring, averaging 20.9 points per game, had his worst game of the year. With 6-foot-5 John Allen in his face for almost the entire 40 minutes, Hill scored a season-low six points on 3-of-15 shooting. “We wanted to contain Hill, contest every shot and not give him anything easy,” said Seton Hall senior Andre Sweet. “John Allen's our stopper. We put John Allen on the best offensive players and he's been coming up big for us.”It's the first time the former Cardozo star didn't score in double figures in 25 straight games.”He played good defense but I wasn't really into the game,” Hill said. “I didn't have any energy, it just wasn't my day.”Seton Hall (10-7, 2-4), which closed out the first half on a 10-2 run to take a 37-27 halftime lead, switched to a 2-3 zone early in the second half and – as has been the case all season – St. John's struggled.”I don't think we penetrate the gaps enough,” Hill said. “I think we just swing the ball around the defense shifts so we really can't get the ball inside or get open jump shots.”St. John's (7-10, 1-6) didn't take care of the basketball and the biggest culprit was freshman Eugene Lawrence, who had eight turnovers in 38 minutes. He also finished with 13 points.”I feel I was (a) little careless with the ball,” Lawrence said. “I was just trying to get everyone else involved in the game but I (was) probably going a little bit too fast. I should have slowed down a little bit more.”Lamont Hamilton was a one-man show inside for St. John's, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Dexter Gray had 10 points and 10 boards and Cedric Jackson added 10 points and six rebounds.Andre Sweet had 15 points and five assists and Kelly Whitney added 10 points and nine rebounds for Seton Hall, which saw its bench outscore the St. John's reserves 30-2.”The effort wasn't there,” Gray said. “We just have to get focused and get back to practice and get ready for Rutgers.”After playing a Rutgers team coming off an embarrassing 94-61 loss at home to Villanova Wednesday, St. John's heads to Storrs, Conn. to face No. 19 Connecticut Saturday at noon. Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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