Seton Hall Pirate’s fans were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief when their team defeated DePaul Sunday afternoon, 82-77 at the Prudential Center in Newark. It was nice to see many fans come out in support of the team despite their having lost four games in a row prior. It is called Pirate Pride! I am sure all of those in attendance viewed it like I did, an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. Whatever it took to get the job done was exactly what they were going to do to avoid a home loss to the 10-16 (3-11 in conference) Blue Demons. So, Desi Rodriguez went for a career best 33 points, and Angel Delgado had himself another monstrous double-double (16 points and 19 rebounds)
Photo: SB Nation
Before tipoff, did anyone expect the Pirates to barely scrape by DePaul at home? Probably not. Despite opening a ten point lead in the first half, Kevin Willard’s crew saw the visitors close the half on an 8-0 run to trail by just two at 38-36. The 2nd half was nip and tuck throughout, but “Hall” seemed well after Rodriguez nailed a three-pointer to push the lead to 75-66 with just 2:08 remaining. Not so. The Pirates missed free throws down the stretch (Jordan Walker went 1-4 in the final 51 seconds), turned the ball over, and committed fouls of their own which enabled DePaul to get back in the game. In fact, following a Max Strus three-point make, the Blue Demons were down just 79-77 with 28 ticks left! That was as close as they would get however as SHU secured the win, but it got hairy I must say. I’m hoping the outcome will give the team a confidence boost heading into the final four games of their regular season. These games will be very tough though: at Providence (Wednesday), at surging St. John’s, and then home for Villanova and Butler. All powerful Big East teams that have the ability to put up a fight against just about any team in college basketball.
Photo: Naples Herald
It is clear what The Hall is capable of doing when playing at their best. Last season for example, they fell a layup short of advancing to the Big East Tournament final against a dominant Villanova team, who eventually won the title. They have plenty of exceptional players who provide different answers to help the team win. For instance, Rodriguez can score, Delgado can handle the paint and grab rebounds, Khadeen Carrington can dish out assists and score the ball himself, Ish Sanogo can lockdown opposing team’s best players, Myles Powell can stroke it from behind the arc, and Walker and Myles Cale can provide energy coming off the bench. Each player has a different strength that proves to be extremely valuable and beneficial to the team. The key question is, can they piece all of these strengths together heading into late February/early March? If so, I have no doubt that Seton Hall can compete with any team in the country. Now it’s their time to go out and prove it!
Feature photo: The Setonian