St. John's coach Rick Pitino expected back from COVID-19 on Saturday against No. 17 Marquette

NEW YORK (AP) — St. John’s coach Rick Pitino is expected back on the sideline Saturday against No. 17 Marquette following a bout with COVID-19.

Pitino was at practice Thursday after missing his team's 80-65 blowout loss Tuesday night at Seton Hall. Minus their Hall of Fame coach, the Red Storm (12-6, 4-3 Big East) missed their first 10 shots from the field and gave up 28 straight points by the first-place Pirates to close the first half and begin the second.

Associate head coach Steve Masiello ran the team in the absence of Pitino, who said he watched the game live on television.

“I was really feeling weak and sick, and got a lot sicker,” Pitino said Friday with a sheepish grin. “We just had one of those nights where we didn't bring it.”

Red Storm guard Jordan Dingle, the team's third-leading scorer at 10.5 points per game, also sat out versus Seton Hall because of illness and won't play against Marquette (12-5, 3-3) at Madison Square Garden.

St. John's will be without three assistant coaches as well: Ricky Johns, Van Macon and Taliek Brown.

“I think I'll be OK,” Pitino said with a smile.

The 71-year-old Pitino is in his first season at St. John's. One of the winningest coaches in NCAA Division I history, he was hired March 20 after spending three seasons at Iona.

During his 35 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Pitino has made 23 NCAA Tournament appearances with five different schools and advanced to the Final Four seven times, a total reached by only six coaches.

He became the first coach to take three schools to the Final Four and the first to win an NCAA championship at two schools — Louisville and Kentucky.


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