Career day from Isaiah Whitehead spurs Seton Hall to 80-66 thumping of DePaul

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Leading by just three with 10 minutes to play, Seton Hall used a 16-3 game-changing run and 25 second half points from Big East Player of the Year candidate Isaiah Whitehead (33 pts, 5 asts) to turn a close game into an 80-66 rout of DePaul at Allstate Arena.

Whitehead, who shattered his previous career-high of 27 that was just set on Wednesday, was simply incredible over the final 20 minutes, whether it was saving a loose ball by crashing into the scorers table or nailing tough three after tough three, he put his teammates on his back, stemming each and every run that a pesky DePaul team made.

“When he gets going like that, we kind of all know to get out of his way and let him do it,” said Kevin Willard on 570 AM post-game.

“As talented and deep as this league is, I don’t know if there’s anyone that has done for their team what he’s done for us.”

Unlike their game against Butler, Seton Hall would spring out to a quick start offensively, scoring 9 points before the under-16, a feat which took over 11 minutes to do at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Sharing the ball well, the Pirates received a pleasant spark off their bench from Derrick Gordon as the defensive-minded guard knocked down consecutive three-balls right after the first media timeout to spearhead an 11-2 run.

In part due to hitting half of their first 10 three-point attempts, Seton Hall led by as many as 10 over the opening half until DePaul halved a 9-point gap to just four in the closing two minutes to trail 36-32 at the break.

The Blue Demons would edge even closer in the opening minutes of the second half, but it was better defensive intensity and Whitehead that turned the game around.

With his team leading 52-49, Whitehead hit consecutive three-pointers that coincided with the beginning of a 4-minute DePaul field goal drought and kicked off the game-changing swing that saw Seton Hall leading 71-55 after the dust settled with 6 minutes to play.

The Seton Hall onslaught also featured a chippy stretch of play in which Whitehead made a flagrant two on Aaron Simpson possible when he went flying into the scorers table to save a loose ball that ended up in Khadeen Carrington’s hands with nobody between him and the hoop.

Simpson then pushed Carrington from behind as he went up for a layup, sending Deen-o flying into the cheerleaders sitting on the baseline and Simpson into the locker room for an early shower.

It seemed clear that Whitehead dictating play coupled with the physical five-minute stretch of action engaged Seton Hall after they seemed to coast through a few stretches over the opening 35 minutes.

The win gives Seton Hall (22-8, 12-6) a program record six Big East road wins and some feel-good momentum heading into the conference tournament next Thursday night. The Hall finishes third in the Big East after being picked 7th before the season began.

  • WilponsStinkLessNow

    Great win, Isaiah hit some tough shots today. One concern, however, is that Angel Delgado has been completely out of synch the last couple of games. Offensively, he’s taking too many fade away hook shots, and even took a few 18 footers today (but made both). He needs to find the open space in the paint when guys drive and go hard to the rim. It seems to be spilling over defensively too as he’s been making some unnecessary fouls. If the Hall is going to make a run, Angel needs to get back into his groove.

    • PadrePirate

      Agreed. We’ll take the win, but concerned about AD. That was one of the goals of this game. We’re relying too much on perimeter shooting which works when hitting 50%, but that’s not going to happen every game.

      Must return to the slashing guard play and early feeds to AD to give us a balanced offense which we’ll need vs stronger opponents.

      • WilponsStinkLessNow

        I can’t tell if defenses have adjusted by clogging the paint, leaving Pirates open on the perimeter, or if the guys are just feeling their shots, but there was virtually no dribble drive today. Nevertheless, Desi, Dino and IW were hitting their shots. Then again, Butler and DePaul might just be bad match-ups.

        But I’m with you, dance with the date that brought you. Get back to the dribble drive, find Angel under the rim, and play tough defense. It’s a recipe for success. I really see this team beating Butler or Nova in the BE Championship in the ultimate revenge game. Fingers crossed.

    • LBP

      Agreed–but I think Willard should demand he get the ball on all early possessions

  • SHULaw05

    Solid road win for sure. I didn’t expect anything less than a double digit win. IW is simply on fire and looking to stay hot into the BE and NCAAs! Any word on Desi’s ankle and Gordon’s condition? I hope both players are okay and nothing serious…

  • Andrew Herbst

    Great win today. Isaish is playing incredible. He is looking like Steph Curry with how well he’s shooting. He can carry us in the BE Tourney and help us go on a big run. Hopefully Desi and Gordon are ok. We need them to stay healthy. We also need to develop Delgado on the inside. Can’t wait for Thursday night at MSG. GO PIRATES.

  • fouline

    Glad we won. But I didn’t need to see the team, especially Whitehead running up his points on a really bad team that was all but out of it with 7/8 minutes to go.

    • VinBick

      Quite the contrary, Foul. Every team in this league can go on a run and overtake a big lead at any point in a game. Coach cannot take his foot off of the gas pedal with seven minutes to go in a game. With a 30 second shot clock, the days of playing four corners to run out the time are long gone.

      • Fishjam

        I agree with you Vin….there was no running up the score at all. A 10-12 point lead can be erased quickly in the shotclock era.

        That said, the Pirates have plenty of motivation to whip DePaul based on many past DePaul beatings and more importantly today’s cheap shot on Dino and several other questionable plays. You also have to consider that the Pirates took their foot off the pedal a little in the first meeting and DePaul nearly came back to tie it twice.

        But Fouline, I totally did not see any running up points. The vast majority of Isaiah’s points came in the middle of the 2nd half with DePaul within 2-8 points. With 9 minutes and change remaining it was 55-52. That’s where the Hall went on a 21-6 run over the next 5 minutes to finally pull away for good. At that point the game was safe and IW didn’t take another shot for the remaining 4+ minutes.

        • fouline

          Whitehead’s last shot a 3 came at 4:00 to go. And once our run was over… we could have coasted to a win. You and everybody else knew that the game was over. It was over during the run. I just bothered me. It’s bad karma. And there should be no revenge involved from past losses. What i say makes no difference. But when coaches/players from other BE schools review the tape… they may not like what they see.

          • T Pirate

            Whoa, I dont think you can be farther off on this point than you are. if you think a 10, or even 13 point lead is safe in college basketball with 4:00 minutes — a virtual eternity — remaining, you have not watched much college basketball.

            I am sorry, I do get the “sportsmanship” stuff, but this isn’t pee wee basketball….you keep playing…and playing hard…until the end is CLEARLY not in doubt. And, with 4 minutes remaining, our lead was not nearly insurmountable.

            The minute you underestimate your opponent, is the minute you have given them the opportunity to take you down…..

          • Hallbuster

            Well said

          • Matty P

            One example where a 10 point lead isn’t safe is the Creighton at Georgetown game from earlier this year. With 2:30 left in the game Creighton was up 70-59. Georgetown ended up winning that game 74-73. Now I know that there’s a difference in competition between SHU vs DePaul vs this game, but it just goes to show that a 10 pt lead with less than 4 to go isn’t always safe in this league.

    • Hallbuster

      Couldn’t disagree more and thought the exact opposite. If anything we let them hang around too long. This is the big east not kindergarten basketball. Have to play with an attitude that when u are up by 10 u should drive to be up by 20 and when up by 20 go for 30. Have u already forgoten the St. John’s game???????

      • fouline

        The SJU game was a bragging rights/playground game between local rivals. Very different from dePaul. After our big run they were out of it. We could have coasted to a 10 point win. The rest is bad karma. And borderline bad sportsmanship. Personally it’s not what I like to see.

        • Hallbuster

          Sorry don’t mean to be rude but are u doing ur math correctly? We only won by 14 points. That’s far from running up the score. Not like we beat them by 20 plus which happens all the time in the big east. Ur saying u wanted us to beat them by 10 and we beat them by 14. Not much difference. Sorry think u are way off the reservation here.

          • fouline

            That’s a lot of points against a really bad team.

          • Hallbuster

            Foul we can agree to disagree but I completely ( and imagine most on this board will agree) can’t follow ur logic in the least bit.

          • fouline

            It’s how you look at the team and what you think is a good/great game. I think a great/good game is close. There’s struggle/tension. 2 to 5 pt. spread. I also have great faith that this team will hang in and give its best. That’s why i thought the SJU game was great. SJU came out of nowhere and played a furious game. And we responded. The crowd was on the edge of their collective seats. And we won. Luck, maybe but we won. What a win. With dePaul. it was no contest. We were better – way better. We just get lazy/tired. But you have to admit, we all knew they were not going to beat us. That’s when the game was over. It was no real contest. No drama. No tension.

          • SHULaw05

            Have to respectfully disagree, Fouline. Bad team or not, DePaul came pretty close to beating us in January. Winning by 14 at their place is by no means running up the score in a disrespectful way. Btw, IW named a unanimous 1st team All Big East! Congratulations, Isaiah!!

  • Joe J

    With all the trouble and torture DePaul has inflicted on seton hall the past few years, I was happy to see the hall not let up. For me, they could not have won by too many points vs DePaul. Creighton is next up on Thursday

  • LBP

    Want to beat Creighton badly and the way to do itis through Delgado

    • Fishjam

      have a few concerns heading into post-season. One is Angel, #2 is the health of Desi, Z & DG after a rough couple of games and #3 is our lack of depth.
      #2 & 3 go hand in hand especially going into the Big East Tourney which requires you to play 3 games in 3-4 days if you get to the finals, Over the last half of the season Willard has played with a 6-man rotation with only spot minutes for Nzei, Anthony & Veer. There’s a big dropoff when these guys play and I would have hoped after a full year, these guys would be more reliable. It hasn’t hurt us but it’s tough to bring the intensity required playing on consecutive days with a very short bench.
      Regarding Angel, he has been very streaky this year and is really 2 different players. The pouty Angel that complains to officials, takes questionable shots, can be a step laye defensively and on the boards and is a turnover machine when he touches the ball. The confident, smiling Angel is a terror on the offensive and defensive glass and is very aggressive going to the basket with his baby jump-hook and strong put backs.
      Getting the confident Angel is sometimes difficult but its always a good idea to get him good opportunities to score early and get him some early success. Other teams know this also and try to frustrate him early with double and triple teams or by putting bodies on him to frustrate him. I wish the pirates had a guy that could talk to him during the game and try to keep him positive and aggressive. This should be one of Willard’s prime focuses over the next week….drawing up some plays yo get Angel quality looks early on Thursday.

      • LBP

        Was hoping Delgado would be “The Man” today cause Creighton can not control him inside— As to the bench, we just have to admit we are not deep and it will catch up to us– A win over Creighton would get Hall a 5; this I believe

        • PadrePirate

          Creighton and, if we win, Xavier, are going to be tough match ups for us, esp if we’re not all healthy.

          I don’t remember why exactly we got blown out by C at home (players cited defensive lapse) but they will certainly be no pushover. They took it to Butler today.

          Since everyone has noticed that Angel is in a down swing, I would also point out that DG has had 2 or 3 sub-par games, if I’m not mistaken. The two 3’s today were a pleasant surprise, but otherwise quiet. He did not do so well against X and the game before.

          With all our front 6 on their A game, this team could win the BET. I can’t bear another one and done, like last year

        • PadrePirate

          And as to your very optimistic #5 seed, I don’t think we’ll move up beyond 7-9 without 2 wins in BET

      • LBP

        Have a concern with DG being out of practice with head injury– don’t know whom else that can stay with Creighton’s Martin

        • Fishjam

          LBP that is a valid concern and has me stressed out too. Not only is DG our best chance to stop Watson from driving into the paint at will, he’s also our only backup Guard. If he doesn’t play who would be in the backcourt when IW and/or Dino need a break? Guess you could play Desi in the backcourt in a pinch with Veer it Nzei playing the 3. Only other choice is to play Soffer or Dowdy, neither of whom has played a meaningful minute all season.

          Think you’d likely see IW and Dino play about 37-38 minutes each and use Desi to give them each 2-3 minutes off. BUT, the bigger concern is foul trouble. Without DG all of the starters would play 36 minutes or more and if any of them get in foul trouble, we’d see a lot more of the bench than we’d like to.

          All that said, I think only a mandatory sit from the doctor (concussion protocol?) would keep DG out. He’s down to his last games of his career so there is nothing to save yourself for at this point. He’s definitely going to give it a go, only problem is he likely won’t be 100%. We need our captain DG out there blanketing Watson and creating havoc with his deflections.

  • PadrePirate

    Hey guys, before we hit the BET, it’s well worth taking a minute to celebrate a pretty incredible regular season run.

    Watching these guys struggle early on against Baruch, Dartmouth, LBSt, who would have ever thought we’d walk away with 22 wins, incl 12 in the BE???

    I think most of us, coming into Conf play, were hoping for 8,9, or even 10 (max) Conf wins. Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me…

    After that little pat on the back, my next BIG DREAM would be the Hall winning the BET finals over…you guessed it…BUTLER 81-79 on a last possession drive to the hole right over Roosevelt Jones!

    • WilponsStinkLessNow

      I loved Isaiah’s post-game interview: they picked us 7th, we ended up 3rd, because we played like a team. They’re getting better with each game, peaking at the perfect time.

    • LBP

      PadrePirate–
      From Your Lips…….
      I am going to enjoy not having to go to the BE Tournie on Wed ( altho I will go) .
      You are so right that everyone should enjoy—-the Team became a fun watch

      • Joe Schmoe

        Those Wednesday tix were always cheap…. Decent seats are like $60 bucks for thursday

    • VinBick

      Spot on, Padre. Most of us thought a ten win BE record was a stretch. The development and team maturity is a sight to behold. The sophs have grown up nicely for the fan base to enjoy. Everyone should savor this moment before the start of the next tournament season ahead.

      Congratulations to the coaches and players, and best wishes for continued successes. Go Pirates!

  • Fishjam

    Much props go to Isaiah Whitehead. He will be named 1st Team All Big East later today which is quite an accomplishment in a league with so many good players.

    His game vs DePaul was incredible on paper but even more mind-blowing watching. To go 10 for 15 (6-10 from 3) is impressive, but the degree of difficulty on nearly every shot he took was off the charts. The 2 fall away 2-point jumpers from the corner were literally from behind the backboard and nearly every 3 he hit was from well behind the arc and many of the step-back variety. Perhaps his most amazing shot was a miss on a drive to the basket where he drew the foul and threw the ball over his shoulder and nearly in the basket.

    Incredible capper to a great regular season which saw him improve by leaps and bounds as he got more comfortable in the Point Guard roll. He makes this offense go with his scoring and distributing and has made big contributions defensively as well. Z took a lot of heat from many fans last year and early this year as he went through growing pains but the guy never stopped working and has been a true pleasure to watch grow. He has used adversity and detractors as fuel and plays with a chip on his shoulder always looking to prove something.

    He could leave for the NBA but I think he is wise enough to know he has more work to do and can get even better (scary thought) with another year in college. I don’t think he’ll win Player of the Year I predict Josh Hart will win) but I do think he deserves it as no one is more valuable to his team.

    • LBP

      Nice job –again–Fishjam . Isaiah does deserve BEPOY ( and altho a “Homer”, I base this upon much of what is expressed above and the fact he made his Team-mates better). However, I think it will go to Ben Bentil–and this would , as the chose of Hart, not be outrageous.

      • Fishjam

        Thanks LBP and you are right, Bentil is deserving too. I think the fact that Dunn will split some votes with him will hurt his chances plus Dunn will likely get Defensive POY and Bentil Most Improved.

        • PadrePirate

          From what I saw late in the season, Bentil carried Prov much more than Dunn did. They’re both great players, but Dunn seemed to have some off nights

  • Hallbuster

    Question for Chris or anyone else. I want to buy ticks behind the seton hall bench for Thursday night big east tournament game, what section will the seton hall bench be in front of at madison square garden??? Thanks in advance

  • VinBick

    So the experts have the Hall as a “Seven Seed” in the Big Dance. Will a couple of wins in the BE Tournament improve their seeding level? Advancing in the tournament from the sixth seed appears to be a much better path for a team. Winning the 7-10 matchup involves playing a number two seed in the next round. Regardless, it will be tough for every team because of the pressure and excitement of the big lights.

    Success at the Garden next week will go a long way in helping this young team produce when competing in the national spotlight of the NCAA Tournament. Go Pirates!

    • Joe Schmoe

      The 2000 team advanced to the sweet sixteen as a ten seed with shaheen on the bench….

      • PadrePirate

        Agreed, although there are some teams I’d rather face more than others… Know nothing about VCU but Miami would be tough.

  • Andrew Herbst

    Awesome article about Isaish in the Post about his coach from his days in middle school. I’m sorry I’m having trouble posting the link.

  • SHULaw05

    Congratulations to Isaiah on being a unanimous selection to 1st Team All Big East! Well deserved! Also, great job to another fellow Pirate, Angel, on his All Big East Honorable Mention! Go Pirates!