Garden Notebook: Big second half pushes Seton Hall past Marquette

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Seton Hall used a 17-2 second half run to take down Marquette, 82-76, in a season rubber match that sets the Hall up with Villanova Friday night in the Big East semifinals.

Marquette had more than their fair share of chances in the first half before Seton Hall clamped down, Angel Delgado nearly pulled off a historic triple-double, and the Pirates’ offense was unusually efficient in the second half en route to a victory that likely locks them into an 8-9 NCAA game. 

All that and more below…

Five thoughts

Marquette had a chance to put its boot on Seton Hall’s neck and failed to do it. The Golden Eagles were getting any kind of look that they wanted over the first 15 minutes of the game but only hit 5 of their first 15 attempts from three, at least 10 of which were very high percentage looks. Marquette should have led by at least 10 but were up just four with 5 to play and the Hall really upped their game from there on out.

On that note, Seton Hall turned the ball over just three times over the final 24 minutes. The game started with a flurry of unforced mistakes and five first-half turnovers from Angel Delgado and it looked like that would continue when the Hall stepped on the end line to begin the second half, but they would cough the rock up just twice the rest of the way. If you remember in my preview: Seton Hall turned it over 36 times over the first two games.

Seton Hall played a very balanced offensive game — everyone chipped in. Five guys reached double figures, Angel Delgado (12 pts, 16 rebs, 9 asts) nearly had his triple-double, Madison Jones scored 13, and Myles Powell notched a big 17 off the bench. 

How about the Hall’s free-throw shooting? Sub-300 nationally coming into the game, the Pirates were nearly perfect (22-of-23) from the stripe including 11-of-11 from Khadeen Carrington. Marquette wasn’t too bad either, they hit 15-of-17.

It was a strong atmosphere at the Garden. Seton Hall had a good but not great mid-day showing from their fans, who were left chanting “We want Nova!” late in the game, much like they did after beating Xaver in the semi-finals last March. There were plenty of neutrals and Villanova fans leftover from the noon matinee, but the Garden was about 80-percent full for most of the game. The game lacked late-game heroics, but the crowd was brought to a boiling point when the two schools nearly matched the St. John’s-Georgetown antics from the night. Desi Rodriguez tried to steal a dead ball from Andrew Rowsey, who grabbed Angel Delgado’s arm as he successfully did the same. Myles Powell and Rowsey then exchanged light shoves, which earned both technicals in a much more PG scrum than the night before.

Five quotes

Kevin Willard on what made this game different (not as close) as the first two meetings: “I thought we had — I think we had a six-minute stretch where they didn’t score in the second half. I thought both teams were a little sloppy in the beginning of the second half. But we were able to really defend. We made them take some tough 2s. We chased Rowsey off the line a little bit. He really hurt us. We were able to chase Howard off the line which really helped us.”

Angel Delgado and Willard on if they knew he had nine assists: 

Delgado – “Yes, I told Coach ‘Put me back in!’ He was like ‘Nah, you might get hurt.’ I was like, ‘All right, I’m just staying here then'”

Willard – “I knew he had nine for awhile, but once it got down to 10 — if they had missed a couple of shots and we could have been up 14 or 15, I would have kept him in. But they were just fouling anyways. But if they weren’t fouling, I would have put him back in.”

Willard on comparing the ACC, Big Ten and Big East (soon to be) tournaments in New York: “First of all, I think the ACC is in Brooklyn, right? That’s a different world, man. I got three guys from Brooklyn, they can have fun with that over there. I love my Brooklyn guys but I ain’t hanging out over in Brooklyn that much. I went to Lincoln so many times over the last couple of years, I said I’m never going back to Brooklyn.”

Willard on facing Villanova tomorrow: “Yeah [long pause]. It’s like waking up on Christmas: you’re all excited, you go down, you open the present and you’ve got a bunch of coal. But no, they’re a fantastic team. They really are. I think Jay [Wright], this is his best job by far. I think it’s his best team by far.”

Marquette coach Steve Wojciehowski on Angel Delgado: “They’re a tough matchup for us. I’m not sure there’s a more physical team in our league and Delgado is just an absolute beast. And you look at, when you say, well he only had 12 points. He had nine assists. To me he was the guy who dominated the game. It’s not just us, it’s the reason why he’s first-team all-conference. He’s got to be an All-American type player. I’ve been doing [this], playing or coaching for 20 years; that’s an All-American-caliber player right there.”