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Sunday, February 22, 2009


February 22, 2009

In a rematch of a February 5th contest, won by Seton Hall 91-81, St. John’s looks to even the score between the two teams when they meet on the SJU campus in Carnesecca Arena Sunday afternoon.

Once again it is a season of streaks for SHU. After beginning conference play 0-6, the Pirates rattled off five straight wins against the lower third of the Big East. Since that streak, SHU has lost two in a row, although they played fairly well, against UConn and Marquette. Now, with USF coming to Newark on Wednesday, the Pirates hope to build some momentum for a tough finishing stretch.

St. John’s made a late rally to make the final score in Thursday’s match-up with Duke look closer than the game really was. The Redstorm are 3-10 in the Big East and are currently mired in a five-game losing streak.

This is a key game for both programs who recruit many of the same players in the NYC/NJ metro area. Bobby Gonzalez has made it pretty clear he circles the local rivalry games and thus far this season they have already swept NJ-rival Rutgers and are looking to complete the sweep against SJU, but much to his dismay, it will have to be accomplished on the Queens campus at Carnesecca Arena and not at Madison Square Garden.

The Redstorm has been hit hard by injuries all season long. They are likely as healthy as they will be for this game with Malik Boothe, Justin Burrell and Rob Thomas all in the line-up after missing some time throughout the season. Their best player, Anthony Mason Jr, was lost for the year in November.

The key to this game will be the Redstorm defense on Jeremy Hazell. A good strategy would be to put DJ Kennedy on him and make his assignment to contest everything. SHU does have other scoring options outside of Hazell, but his three’s seem to ignite the Pirates and for them to win on the road he is likely to need to be ‘on’.

This should be a pretty intense game, but the SHU pressure defense really pushed the pace in the first meeting, leading to the SHU win. If the Redstorm do not get better guard play and control the pace, the same thing is likely to happen.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 80
St. John’s 75



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