NEWARK — Monster games from Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez propelled Seton Hall to an important 71-64 win over Xavier.
Seton Hall held the Musketeers scoreless for a key five and a half minute stretch late in the second half and used 25 and 13 from Delgado plus 22 from Rodriguez to hand Xavier their fourth-straight loss.
Playing in front of a half-empty Prudential Center, Seton Hall got off to a stagnant start and failed to register an assist for the first nine minutes, falling behind Xavier 23-16.
Then a flurry of four assists on five possessions that came just as Isaiah Whitehead took his seat in front of me courtside got Seton Hall and their defense going.
As a result of the improved ball movement and countless defensive deflections, the Hall answered their largest first half deficit with a 9-0 run which brought them within a point at the half 23 of their 30 points coming from Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez.
Trailing 31-30 at the break, Seton Hall looked fragile early in the second half and nearly fell behind by eight when Xavier missed a wide open three-pointer when leading 38-33.
The Pirates took advantage.
A 15-5 Pirate run that started with an academic run-out basket from Xavier’s missed opportunity and ended with a pair of Myles Powell (8 pts) three-balls completely turned the tide of the second half.
Leading 49-45 at the under-12 with the Musketeers in foul trouble Seton Hall looked primed to take advantage before a flurry of seven fouls in four minutes on the home team put a damper on things and allowed Xavier to trail just 55-53 after the under-eight.
But the attrition, primarily to Xavier’s front line but also to impressive back-up point guard Quentin Goodin (4 pts, 8 asts) would eventually take its toll.
The Musketeers failed to score from the 7:26 to 1:59 mark which allowed Seton Hall to build an 8-0 run to lead 63-53 at the under-four, an advantage which was too large to throw away despite a very shaky finish from Seton Hall.