Five Thoughts, Five Quotes: Hoosier Daddy? Hall wins again

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NEWARK – There was plenty to talk about after No. 22 Seton Hall’s 84-68 win over Indiana in the Gavitt Games.

Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery were in the house for Fox Sports. Indiana. Dozen NBA scouts. Big win.

One of the busier non-conference media-attended games since perhaps Wichita State a couple seasons back resulted in plenty of story lines from the Hall’s convincing third win of the year and their second consecutive in the Gavitt Games.

Angel Delgado was Seton Hall’s “safety blanket” while fellow seniors Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington both had their most efficient offensive nights yet. All that and more, below.

Five thoughts:

Carrington snapped an offensive funk. He was 0-9 from deep coming into this one with just 22 points, which can probably be chalked up to adjusting to point guard and a little bad luck. 17 points on seven shots to go along with five assists is more of what we’re used to. Carrington was also up against the most seasoned lead guard he’s faced this year in Josh Newkirk.

It’s assists by committee. Pirates not named Khadeen have dished three or more assists on seven occasions so far. Inside-out passing through Angel Delgado was a primary theme of the game while Myles Powell earned recognition from Kevin Willard for his four-assist night. Case-in-point.

Seton Hall received very little from the ‘4’ but Delgado overpowered. Mike Nzei (0p, 1r) got in foul trouble and had an off-night while Ish Sanogo (4p, 5r) was solid but not great off the bench for a combined 39 minutes. The other seniors took care of business and put Indiana big De’Ron Davis in foul trouble, taking away some depth from the Hoosier front court. Perhaps lack of production at power forward was affected by them not doubling on Delgado, regardless, it didn’t hurt the hosts tonight.

Jordan Walker should be back from a sprained thumb soon. I’ll let Willard do the talking: “Jordan is going to be out, if we keep winning, forever [laughs]. Hopefully we’ll have him back for Saturday, it’s still pretty swollen. It’s more of a day-by-day. Maybe Saturday, but definitely he’ll be back by Thursday.”

I criticized it pregame, but the crowd turned out well tonight. They were definitely late-arriving for the 6:30 tip, but the 1,000+ students were perhaps the best they’ve ever been while Indiana had a strong contingent in the section behind their bench. In all, I’d say about 7,700 of the 8,452 paid fans showed up. Willard made a great comment on the students while Desi Rodriguez also said they were probably the most engaged he’s ever seen. Chants of “Hoosier Daddy!?” and N-I-T were heard and the whole section was bouncing toward the end of the game.

Five quotes:

Willard on his substitution pattern and what went wrong in first half: “Our bench has to learn how to play with a lead. And that’s only going to happen by them playing with it … They have to learn how, when you’re up 8 or 9 against good basketball teams, that’s not the time to go one-on-one or take a bad shot, and the only way you do it is by playing through it and having confidence.”

On the crowd/atmosphere: “Our students, they’re awesome. I can’t say enough. That’s three games in a row that we’ve sold it out. We talked about it at the under-12 in the second half. Our timeouts should be comedy TV. Instead of talking about the game, the guys were talking about let’s continue to get the student section pumped up. Let’s get the students in it. They understand the sacrifice our students make to get down to this building. The fact that our students are doing it at a record pace right now, the kids really really appreciate it.”

Angel Delgado when asked if Willard preaches feeding the post: “Yeah. Every time he sees my face, he says [to the team] you gotta throw the ball inside. They know the type of player I am, if the ball goes inside, it’s coming [back] out. 80-percent of the time its coming out, but if I know there’s somebody I can score on, I’m going to take it.”

On if he knew about the 12+ NBA scouts in attendance: “No, not at all. I just came to play basketball. I just came to have fun. By now you guys now I have fun every game. I just came here to have fun, I don’t really pay attention to that. It’s good that they came here, it shows that we’re working a lot and the guys really deserve that, everybody here really deserves that.”

Desi when I joked if Myles Cale is giving him some highlight reel competition: “He’s taking my spotlight, but I’m going to get that back. In the second half I was trying to get me one. He’s very athletic, that’s what people say, I wouldn’t say he’s more athletic than me yet [laughs], but he can jump.”

Double Bonus (it was a lively post-game media frenzy):

Willard on Desi: “I think Desi is an elite player by far. I think he’s one of the best players in college basketball and I’ll just leave it at that.”

Khadeen Carrington on getting his shot back: “It felt good. We were talking about it at practice and they asked me if I was worried about. I was 0-9? I said I’ll be worried when I’m 0-30. My shot felt good tonight.”

  • RonD

    It makes me a little bit nervous but KW is right. If you want to have productive depth late in the season, you have to play those guys. Aside from the Ish/Nezi combo, our depth comprises 3 freshmen and a sophomore.

    So Willard got everyone in the first half, gave up a lead, broke the momentum and had fresh legs for his starters in the 2nd half. And they dominated. Guess I’m going to have to accept some nervousness!

    • SHU95

      You’re right, but the nervous minutes now will hopefully pay dividends later on in the season

    • PirateLacrosse14

      My only real issue so far is just the mixing of the first and second teams. Willard did a great job of keeping his first team rested for the second half, but it seems like he has clearly defined “first” and “second” teams. Subbing a bunch of guys at one time can kill momentum, and there were a few times all of the freshman were on the floor at once. It is helping them grow, and they still won the game, but I just feel incorporating the young guys and the vets more would help.

      • Louie Dee

        I agree. Once Walker is healthy he should play with the starting four to get his feet wet in case something happens with Khadeem (ie. foul trouble)

      • RonD

        KW is incorporating Cale with 1st unit very well. He frequently plays with 3 or 4 starters. But their clearly is a 1st unit and 2nd unit.

  • Andrew Herbst

    Loved how Khadeem ran the point last night. I was at the game with my dad and the crowd was great. Student section was lively. Hopefully that continues.

  • Joe Schmoe

    There would have been 20,000 at the game if they played in the Meadowlands.

    • VinBick

      There is no reason for fans not coming to the Rock in Newark. It is a safe area and whether driving to the games or taking a train, it is easy to reach. The Rock is a beautiful college basketball venue; few teams have a home court even nearly as nice as ours. The Meadowlands was packed when PJ’s teams were very good.

      The fans will come to the Rock as the Hall continues to climb in the polls and sustains successful seasons. This team is very special; those who do not come out to see the Hall in person at the Rock are missing out on exciting, competitive college basketball.

      • Joe Schmoe

        I frequently attend games at the Rock and it is not easy to reach or easy to leave. Parking is expensive, and a hassle. One night a couple of years ago a cop directing traffic after the game instructed me to make a right on market from mullberry and i received a $70 ticket from the red light camera for making an illegal turn. The court (another day trying to fight the ticket) determined that it was “unclear” from the red light traffic camera footage if a cop was actually in the intersection directing traffic or not and I still had to pay the fine. The train IS convenient IF you are coming from the city, or points south (west for the true railfans) of newark penn. Newark Broad and train points west is not convenient. If you frequent games at the Rock, you fully understand why people stay away. The Devils rank at the bottom of the league (27/31) in attendance and are at the top of the Met division. the problem is not the fans, its the arena. The fact that Seton Hall average attendance is about half of the devils average attendance (7k:14k), and the pirates keep the top curtain closed, Id say the Pirates are drawing pretty well in that building.

        • 11yearplan

          The Meadowlands was harder to drive to and leave. There was no mass transportation alternative, once you arrive it took another 15 minutes to reach the parking lot, which was as expensive as the Rock. If more than 7,500 fans showed, you parked at Giant Stadium and had to use the cattle crossing to reach the arena, there were no restaurants/bars to go to before or after the game and they spread the fans over both the upper and lower sections so that there was rarely a home game effect. The only time the Meadowlands was packed was when the team was in the top 10.

          If the fee to park is the issue, all you have to do is park at the lot next to the law school or a block or two down Mulberry Street.

          The Rock is a superior arena and downtown Newark is a superior location.

        • Coach Mike

          The Rock is easier to enter and leave than the Meadowlands. Period. Take Broad Street to Green Street and the parking is right across from the building, Stay off of McCarter Highway (Rt 21).

          • Joe Schmoe

            If you are coming from west of the stadium, market street is actually the easiest least congested way in and out, past the courthouse, make a right on 1st street and then enter 280 on the left. If you do it enough times you become familiar with the traffic lanes that move and the ones that dont.

  • regularJoe2

    I am glad to see Desi getting the accolades he so richly deserves. He is such a vital piece to this exciting team. Great atmosphere last night. On the crowd size of 7,700, I would suspect that approximately 1000 or so were IU fans (based on the amount of red). Hopefully, word of this special team will spread (and the marketing team will reach out to HS coaches, CYO programs, etc.) and we can fill most of the seats with Pirate blue. This team (especially the Seniors) resurrected SHU basketball and they deserve the support. Great job Chris.

  • SHU95

    Great win, Desi has become such a polished player on the offensive end. His size & diverse skill set creates a matchup problem just about every game. An opposing player would have to basically be a mirror image of his size & athleticism to have success guarding him… There just are not many guys around that fit his mold. Extremely Unique player.

    • ThePirateFan

      Agreed. Considering the success this class has had it feels as though there’s always somebody underappreciated. His game has really matured, he can play really aggressive and dominate as a senior in a way that would’ve felt overly so if we saw it as a freshman.