NEWARK — It wasn’t always pretty, but No. 23 Seton Hall had an explosive first half on the offensive end and scrapped past Wagner in the second en route to an 89-68 bounce-back win.
Jordan Walker didn’t play tonight, but he made strides toward mending fences. The freshman point guard was active as always on the bench — he was in full uniform — and took the time to shake hands with fans and take pictures with younger Pirates well after his teammates were back in the locker room. That’s a really good start.
Myles Powell has been playing with a heavy heart. If you haven’t heard or made the connection, his brother has been arrested and charged with a murder at an Applebees down near Trenton a few weeks ago. With tears forming in his eyes, Myles was gracious enough to make a brief statement on the situation, see below.
Khadeen Carrington showed leadership tonight. After one of his worst offensive games in 2.5 years at Rutgers, he was nearly flawless in all aspects tonight and set a Seton Hall record for most three-pointers made in a game without missing with six on the night. His three in the first half (plus an and-one) were key to widening the gap.
We’re fortunate that Desi Rodriguez wasn’t more seriously hurt. Kevin Willard brushed it off post-game, saying he knows when Desi is hurt compared to when he is upset he missed a dunk, and he made a long joke about how it was the latter. Willard said Desi usually runs down a flight of stairs and yells in the locker room when on campus, and said he was just happy he didn’t have to run down stairs tonight. But on a more serious note, Rodriguez was tip-toeing a fine line late in the second half and nearly got himself more seriously injured for nothing more than a chest-thumping contest when the score had already been decided.
Angel Delgado (15p, 10r, 5a) bullied Wagner when he had to. He was up against a smaller front line for the first time in quite a few games and made it look easy in all facets without ever really breaking a sweat.
Willard on the team refocusing: “We took a couple days off after Saturday … We controlled the game and then the way we lost it was disappointing, so I thought it was important the guys cleared their head a little bit. I thought we came back yesterday especially and really practiced with a purpose again. The guys came out with that purpose and did what they had to do to get a ‘W'”
On Khadeen Carrington’s bounce-back night: “The tough thing about Saturday night was he took good shots … The big thing for him was I wanted him to be a leader the last few days. I thought he came to practice very aggressive and very focused, and that rubbed off on everybody. I thought his mindset led him to this game.”
On the Jordan Walker situation: “Jordan is a freshman who is going through it, who has a had a tough, though time because he has been hurt. It seemed like it was a lot longer, but it was only really a four hour span that we went through it. Him and his parents and me had a great conversation Tuesday night and it was good for him to hear my thoughts and I thought it was very good for me to hear his thoughts. We’re glad to have him back, I think he’s going to have a bright future. I think everyone has to understand he has had a really tough go of it with his injury and he hasn’t been able to play and it’s very frustrating for a freshman.”
[When followed up about what Walker can bring to the table]: “It’s what I talked to him about. ‘You can’t get frustrated, I’m not frustrated—‘ I’m not sure what he can do. I think I know what he can do. I think he’s frustrated with the fact that he wants to show it but he hasn’t had a shot yet and that’s understandable. I kind of understand those things. I think the big thing was me and him getting on the same page and we are.”
Khadeen Carrington on bouncing back: “I know how long the season is. That’s what I try to tell these guys. We took a bad loss on Saturday, but you can’t dwell on that. You just have to bounce back in the next one and I thought we did a great job of that. It was real hard [to get over the loss], it was a little harder for me because [Rutgers guard] Mike Williams kept texting me [laughs].”
Carrington on Jordan Walker: “Just staying focused. Right now he’s not getting a lot of minutes, he’s coming off of injury, and he has a bunch of guys ahead of him — it’s a veteran team. He just has to stay focused and trust in coach, trust in us, and listen to what we say.”
Bonus quote (it’s a somber one):
Myles Powell on his brother’s arrest in relation to a murder charge: “It’s been kind of hard. I mean, when you go through stuff like that, the only thing you can do is pray to God that the best things come out [of it]. When I talk to him, I just tell him I’m going hard for him. That’s who I want to dedicate this season to. I’m just going to leave it at that.”