akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

NEW YORK — Like the sly fox that he is, Rick Pitino, while throwing his team under the bus publicly after a loss to the same opponent he squared off against today, was probably seeing into the immediate future, and seeing his first-year cast become the team he needed it to be to get ready and hardened for postseason play.

That postseason may end up being the NCAA Tournament after an impressive display of full-court efficiency lifted the fifth-seeded Red Storm over No. 4 Seton Hall 91-72 in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon. Six different players scored in double figures for St. John’s, who advanced to the Big East semifinals for the first time since 2000, which was also the last year that it won the conference tournament championship.

For the Red Storm to reach the final, they’ll have to overcome the top-seeded UConn Huskies, who turned a somewhat sluggish first half into a tour de force in the game’s final 20 minutes in dispatching No. 9 Xavier 87-60 in the first quarterfinal game. The Huskies shot a staggering 78.8 percent from the field in the second half, making 22 of 28 shots from the field, and their field goal percentage of 58.3 for the game was the best single-game shooting performance for Connecticut in its Big East Tournament history.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday’s event, with all photos taken by ALOST staff photographers Jenny Rohl and Scotty Rausenberger. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 49 pictures in total.

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Tags : Big East ConferenceConnecticut HuskiesCreighton Blue JaysMarquette Golden EaglesProvidence FriarsSeton Hall PiratesSt. John's Red StormVillanova WildcatsXavier Musketeers

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