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Thursday, February 05, 2009


February 5, 2009

The Seton Hall Pirates, on a current two-game win streak, host Norm Roberts and his St. John's Redstorm at the Prudential Center in Newark (NJ) tonight in a Big East match-up. SHU beat Rutgers, 70-67, in their last game behind 35 points from Jeremy Hazell and are 2-6 in Big East play.

The Redstorm have won two of three, beating Rutgers, 70-59, and South Florida, 65-48, at home and losing 75-52 at West Virginia in between. SJU is 3-6 in the Big East.

Pregame stories and previews:

St. John's & Seton Hall Ready for Battle (NY Daily News)

The 'storm received a nice lift to their line-up with the return of Malik Boothe and Rob Thomas from injury in their last game, a win over USF. Boothe had not played since a December 21st loss to Virginia Tech because of an injured thumb. Being the lone SJU true point guard, coach Roberts was anxious to get him back on the court and the sophomore logged 37 minutes against USF.

Thomas provides an offensive lift off the bench, and had scored in double digits in four of five games before injuring a groin in the 1st half of a loss to UConn on January 15th. He had six points in 18 minutes in his return.

SJU had already lost Anthony Mason Jr for the season, so this is probably as full of a compliment of players as they will have this season. Boothe moves back into a backcourt that has a very hot player next to him, Paris Horne. The 6'3 sophomore is averaging a team-best 14.4 points a game, but that number is 18.8 in the last six contests. Fellow sophomore DJ Kennedy, a 6'6 wing, averages 13 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds for SJU.

Seton Hall is led by Jeremy Hazell, one of the nation's top scorers at 23.4 points a game. The 35-point performance was one of his five 30-pt plus games this year and he averages 24.8 points in Big East games. Hazell has the green light to launch from nearly anywhere at anytime and has the confidence to make them in any situation, no matter how many he has made, or missed, previously.

Robert 'Stix Mitchell adds 15.7 points and game and point guard Eugene Harvey averages nearly 13 points and 5 assists a game. Much is made of the short SHU roster and lack of depth that really hurts their frontcourt, but they definitely have some guys that can fill it up offensively.

The 9 PM contest is being shown by ESPN and the early college basketball odds have Seton Hall favored by 5 1/2 points on their home floor.

Being at home, you have to believe the Pirate offense will outshine the St. John's defensive effort. Their is not a lot of room for error for Seton Hall with a thin roster, but Hazell can certainly carry the load offensively and the frantic pace will likly take St. John's out of their game.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Seton Hall 76
St. John's 67



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