NEW YORK (AP) -Things couldn't have been any bleaker for Seton Hall.
There was a 20-minute delay at the start because of a broken shot clock. The Pirates were on the road, where they hadn't won yet in the Big East. They were playing St. John's at Carnesecca Arena rather than Madison Square Garden. Their backup point guard and senior leader was out with a wrist injury. Their leading scorer injured his shooting hand 12 minutes into the game.
That's right. They won.
Jeff Robinson had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead Seton Hall to a 59-50 victory over St. John's on Wednesday night.
``This is one of my favorite wins of my lifetime,' Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez said. ``We beat Florida in the NCAAs when I was at Manhattan. We beat Louisville here against Rick Pitino, an idol of mine. But this ranks up there. We got 15 wins and are tied for eighth in the conference. It was our first road win. There were so many things. We proved we could play without Jeremy (Hazell) and Eugene (Harvey). We won a game at Carnesecca Arena over a metropolitan area rival. This was big. This was special. They'll remember this for a long time.'
Hazell, the Big East's second-leading scorer at 22.4 points per game, suffered a deep cut between fingers on his shooting hand 12 minutes into the game and never returned. He scored the first eight points of the game for Seton Hall (15-9, 6-7) and finished with 10.
Hazell didn't know he was bleeding and continued to play with a trail of blood following him up and down the court for a couple of trips. At a stoppage, one of the officials noticed the blood and called for it to be cleaned up. That's when Hazell, and everyone else, realized he was bleeding.
``He doesn't know how it happened,' Gonzalez said of Hazell, who was unavailable after the game as he was being tended to by the trainer. ``He was stitched up. We'll see the doctor tomorrow and figure out what happens from there. I'm going to church and pray a little bit.'
Robinson picked up for Hazell, even emulating him from 3-point range.
The 6-foot-6 junior transfer from Memphis came into the game 0 for 7 from 3-point range and hadn't even attempted one since Jan. 21. He made 2 of 3 and finished one point off his season high.
``I knew at some point he would make a 3. It's the law of averages,' Gonzalez said. ``I didn't think he'd make two in a row.'
Robinson, who scored the first five points, including his second 3, of a 9-1 run that gave the Pirates a 49-35 lead with 5:57 left, was working on that shot recently.
``I don't know, I just felt confident and I just took the shots,' he said. ``I've been working a lot. I've been coming in the gym, shooting a lot on my own to get prepared for this game. ... I started off slow from 3 but I've been working on it and it paid off in this game.'
Robinson made sure his teammates knew they could win even without Hazell.
``We huddled up, the five that was on the court, and we said `Guys, we don't have Jeremy on this one so we've got to come together, get stops and play hard.'
Sean Evans, who had a total of six points in his last three games, had 14 points for the Red Storm (14-11, 4-9), who like Seton Hall came in on a two-game winning streak.
St. John's, which missed its first 11 3-point attempts, finished with a season-low point total.
``There'll be no pity party. They played better than us and beat us and we'll move on to the next one,' said St. John's coach Norm Roberts, who heard chant of ``Fire Roberts' in the final minutes. ``Sometimes you want something too bad. At times we got tight and didn't make it happen. It just didn't happen for us.'
The Associated Press News Service
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