Both Seton Hall and St. John's could use a league win right about now.
The local Big East rivals will take back-to-back swings at one another starting on Saturday afternoon in New York.
Two days later, the Pirates will host the Red Storm in a game rescheduled from December due to Seton Hall's COVID-19 pause. That game will be held on campus at Walsh Gymnasium in South Orange, N.J., and only students will be allowed to attend due to the building's limited capacity.
But first comes Saturday's clash at Madison Square Garden. Coach Mike Anderson and the Red Storm (10-6, 2-3 Big East) are hoping for better luck at home after all three of their league losses came on the road, most recently an embarrassing 87-64 setback Wednesday at Creighton.
St. John's allowed the Bluejays to make 50 percent of their shots, including 14 3-pointers. Creighton led by as many as 30 points.
"It seemed like we were just a half-step slow in a lot of different areas," Anderson said, per the New York Post. "Our defense was not very good (Wednesday), not to our standards."
Seton Hall (11-5, 2-4) will get its first chance to wash out the bad taste of a 73-72 loss at Marquette on Jan. 15. With the game tied in the dying seconds, Marquette's Greg Elliott drew a foul on Bryce Aiken when he leapt up to try a shot -- even though the replay showed Elliott initiating all the contact by elbowing Aiken in the nose.
Elliott made one free throw, which decided the game.
Seton Hall weathered several positive COVID cases this winter, but its fourth loss in six games was enough to drop it out of the Associated Press Top 25 this week for the first time since it entered the rankings Nov. 22.
"We're in a little bit of a hole," Pirates coach Kevin Willard said in his postgame radio interview, "but when you play your first two (Big East) games with seven guys, unfortunately that was predictable. We've played a lot of games and we need a little bit of a break, getting them mentally and physically back into a good spot."
Willard got his wish. No. 21 Providence was unable to play Seton Hall on Tuesday due to its own COVID-related pause, so the Pirates have had a week between games to rest and practice.
--Field Level Media