NEWARK — The way Khadeen Carrington put Seton Hall on his back during Seton Hall’s 87-81 win over No. Creighton, you would have thought it was Isaiah Whitehead.
But perhaps not even the Brooklyn Nets point guard played as good a game as Carrington did tonight during his two-year career.
“Definitely not as efficient, but he had some pretty darn good games,” said Kevin Willard.
“I’ll have to go back and watch the tape, Isaiah [Whitehead] had some great games. But for Khadeen coming off a tough night at St. John’s — I knew we were going to be in good shape when we were walking back to the locker room after the press conference he said ‘Coach don’t worry, I’ll get it back.’ His efficiency is what I’ve been waiting for all year.”
Carrington became the first Pirate player to surpass the 40 mark since Sterling Gibbs in 2013-14 en route to setting a new career-high which of course came on a go-ahead bucket late in the second half.
41 points on 15 shots to go along with 7 assists and 5 rebounds — try that on for size.
“I loved how efficient he was,” said Willard for the umpteenth time post-game. “That was the best game I’ve seen him play from an all-around standpoint, his efficiency was off the charts.”
While it looked like Carrington was playing a game of HORSE against Creighton two-guard Marcus Foster at times, Jays head coach Greg McDermott thought Angel Delgado‘s 17 points and 17 boards were just as if not more important.
“It’s not a fair battle right now in terms of strength,” said McDermott of Delgado’s battle against NBA prospect Justin Patten. “Those offensive rebounds down the stretch when the game was in the balance were the difference.”
Delgado turned around a quiet first half to score 15 and bring in 12 boards after the break, most of which came at key points, but McDermott ultimately couldn’t deny Carrington’s worldly performance.
“Well he’s not in a slump anymore, he took care of that [laughs]. He was really good … I’m not sure we’ve given up 22 free throws to a team all year, let alone one guy.”
Seton Hall’s big-time win over Creighton provides their third top-50 win in addition to South Carolina and California, setting up an epic clash against top-five Villanova on Saturday in what will likely be the biggest game in Prudential Center history to this point.
“We talked about on Sunday when we came back after St. John’s, we knew we had a great opportunity ahead of us and knew we were still in great position,” said Willard of his team’s turnaround.
“They understood what was at stake. I thought they really brought it emotionally tonight for all 40 minutes.”
Seton Hall will need to ramp it up to another level and bring it for another 40 minutes on Saturday in order to continue steering this Pirate ship in the direction of the NCAAs yet again.