A horrific first half and a stunning last-second shot from Marcus Derrickson did Seton Hall in as the Pirates drop their third straight, 83-80 on the road at Georgetown.
Seton Hall is failing the eye test right now. Full disclosure: I typed this paragraph at the under-eight of the second half. In other words, before I knew the result. Why? Because regardless of the outcome in this game, there are major questions to ask of this senior-laden group. Body language, mental mistakes on defense, cold shooting… Hot streaks like the 14-1 second half run will mask these symptoms, but can they cure the illness?
Speaking of those symptoms, the first half was a Seton Hall horrorshow. Aside from shooting below 30-percent for a majority of the first 20 minutes, the one thing that raised eyebrows was an abnormally porous defense within the arc. Georgetown is not a prolific team from the perimeter and yet Seton Hall was getting burned on drive-bys and looked apathetic to one of their team staples. The body language was clear as day.
Angel Delgado apparently dislocated his kneecap against Marquette. With Delgado on the bench in the first half and a heat wrap around his left knee, CBS Sports Network reported that he had dislocated his knee (actually his kneecap) in the first half against the Golden Eagles, which was news to anyone outside of inner circles. It looked like Delgado tweaked it just seconds into the second half after getting beat on the post, but the big man waved off a substitution with Sandro Mamukelashvili halfway on the floor and would continue to play — and even emphatically dunk the ball.
Like so many times before, Myles Powell’s shooting resurrected his team. Trailing 50-33 a minute into the second half, Powell drilled a pair of threes over 77 seconds and then Desi Rodriguez took over, scoring eight points in less than four minutes. It was fitting then that Powell would tie the ballgame with a three at 67 with 6:14 to play, who would drill six threes in the second half en route to 23 points in the half.
Missed opportunities. I feel like I just wrote about this, but the missed free throws today were really untimely. The Pirates were a perfect 8-for-8 until late in the second half when Powell missed a pair, and then Carrington missed a front-end with under two to play. Further, Carrington picked up his fourth foul with just under 11 minutes to play and to put the icing on the missed opportunities cake, the team executed perfectly on their chance to send the game to overtime, but just missed the shot.
Kevin Willard on the first half defense: “Extremely disappointing, considering the fact we had two really good practices coming into this defensively. To give up 59-percent [in the first half], it’s a little bit puzzling about what’s going through certain peoples minds on the floor at times. When we’re connected and focused on what we’re supposed to do, we can beat anybody, but right now we have to get back into the mental mindset of being a good defensive team.”
On taking solace in coming back: “I’m proud of the way they fought back. Extremely proud. We missed four free throws by our two best shooters. Those guys never miss, I was thinking they were going to knock those down. … Even the last play, they executed pretty darn good for not having Khadeen in the situation, he’d be the pitch guy usually. I have tremendous faith in this group, I know we’re going to get this done, but I guess I would say I was pissed off about the way we came out. I thought we were going to come out with a little bit more edge, a little bit more toughness, we ended up getting there, but it took us too long to get there.”
On Myles Powell sparking the team: “That’s the way Myles should play all the time. He was engaged, I thought he did a good job defensively today. … When he gets that little fire going — we kind of feed off him a lot, with his energy. He made some tough, big shots for us.”
On Marcus Derrickson’s shot: “I don’t know how we left him. I think Pickett was the guy that ball-faked and made the pass, if I’m not mistaken [Willard then went on tangent about Derrickson’s progress]”
When asked if he could parse this group of seniors failing to string two halves together for most of the season: “No, I don’t. We missed so many layups in the first half, point blank shots it was deflating a little bit. No, I don’t know why. I put Ish [Sanogo] on there to jump start us, which he did for a couple games. But now we’re still getting off to slow starts. The sense of urgency doesn’t come right away. I think when you’re older, they have that feeling ‘We’ll pick it up’, but the league right now, and everyone kind of understands how good these guys are and are coming at us right away. We’ll find a way. We will, we’ll find a way.”