NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Sterling Gibbs had 25 points and eight assists to lead Seton Hall over No. 15 St. John’s 78-67 in the Big East opener for both teams Wednesday.
Jaren Sina added 14 points for the Pirates (11-2, 1-0) in their first victory over a ranked opponent since stunning No. 3 Villanova in the conference tournament last March.
The Red Storm (11-2, 0-1) had won seven straight since their only previous loss, 73-66 to then-No. 10 Gonzaga in late November.
Freshman forward Angel Delgado added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Seton Hall, and senior forward Brandon Mobley had 13 points with 10 boards. Another freshman, guard Khadeen Carrington, scored 11.
D’Angelo Harrison paced St. John’s with 25 points before fouling out. Phil Greene IV added 15 and Rysheed Jordan scored 11 off the bench.
After the Red Storm controlled play for most of the first half, Seton Hall outscored them 13-4 over the final 4 minutes before the break. Sina scored five straight, including a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left that gave the Pirates the lead at 37-35.
Gibbs drained a 3 with 6 seconds remaining to make it 40-35.
Seton Hall also used the 3 to increase the lead in the second half. Gibbs, Mobley and then Sina nailed shots from long range as the Pirates took a 53-43 lead with 12:20 left on Sina’s 3-pointer.
Sina’s third 3 of the game gave the Pirates their biggest lead at 58-44 with 10:02 remaining.
Harrison scored four straight points to cut it to 58-50 with 8:37 left. He hit two free throws to slice the deficit to 65-63 with 5:12 to go, but the Pirates countered with a basket by Delgado before Gibbs drained a 3 as the shot clock ran out to push the lead to 70-63 with 4 minutes left.
St. John’s: The winning streak was the longest for the Red Storm since 1999-00, when they won eight in a row on the way to a 25-win season. … St. John’s entered averaging 6.9 blocked shots per game, good for sixth in the nation. … St. John’s did not allow more than 57 points in any of its previous seven games.
Seton Hall: The Pirates are playing without heralded freshman Isaiah Whitehead, the preseason Big East Rookie of the Year. Whitehead sustained a stress fracture in his right foot two weeks ago and is out indefinitely. He was averaging 11.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists over 11 games. … Seton Hall had only one lead change in its previous five games, leading from start to finish in wins over Maine, South Florida and St. Peter’s, and trailing from the start against Georgia and Wichita State. There was one lead change in the first half Wednesday.
St. John’s hosts Butler at Carnesecca Arena on campus Saturday.
Seton Hall hosts No. 6 Villanova on Saturday.
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