No. 23 Seton Hall up against Wagner following Rutgers debacle

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Beginning with Wagner, No. 23 Seton Hall has a pair of tune-up games to lick their wounds and fasten seat belts prior to diving into the thick of their Big East schedule.

The Pirates left Piscataway with their second loss and a rude awakening after a calamitous collapse on Saturday that can be summarized by a series of stats you may know by now, but I only just discovered having fortuitously missed out on covering the rivalry affair.

  • Rutgers closed the game on a 17-2 run, which ensued after a Myles Powell bucket at 6:06
  • In that 6 minutes and change, Seton Hall was 0-8 from the field with 4 turnovers and 2 made free-throws
  • Rutgers’ bench outscored the Hall 17-5
  • Seton Hall turned it over on 24.7% of all possessions, their worst rate of the year by several percentage points
  • The visitors scored just .89 points per possession, by far their lowest total this season
  • Khadeen Carrington (10 pts, 4-17 fg, 4a, 5TO) had his third-lowest offensive KenPom rating (60) over the past two and a half seasons. Lowest: Vanderbilt (37; 1pt, 3 asts), Second lowest: Xavier 2016-17 (56; 6 pts, 0-8 3pt)
  • Angel Delgado (7p, 21r) pulled in three touchdowns worth of rebounds, but only attempted two shots over the final nine minutes (both misses) — that’s not good enough for an All-American type player

I am no one to judge how much it was Seton Hall playing one of their worst statistical games in a while and how much the 24th-best KenPom defense plus a rabid home crowd helped Rutgers’ cause, but I’m sure it was a (un)happy medium. 

With that out of our collective systems, it’s time to leave the Scarlet Knights a few Parkway exits behind in the rear view and focus on Wagner.

As alluded to, the Seahawks (7-2) visit Prudential Center ahead of Manhattan, two teams that shouldn’t put up much resistance — on paper — as Seton Hall closes out their non-conference schedule.

Ranked in the high 200s in KenPom and with former Pirate point guard Donald Copeland as an assistant coach, Wagner has dropped games to the only pair of schools they’ve faced currently in the KenPom top-200.

Wagner lost to Missouri by 44 in their second test of the year but more recently lost to Rider in overtime this past weekend.

Statistically, Bashir Mason’s guys rely on the three (41%) and free-throws heavily and they are adept at grabbing offensive rebounds, but are average or way below average at everything else; breakout sophomore guard Blake Francis (20.2 ppg) and veteran point guard JoJo Cooper (13.2 ppg, 6.1 apg, 4.3 rpg) are Wagner’s primary scoring threats.

Cooper and Romone Saunders (9 ppg, 4 rpg) are the lone returnees from the Seahawk team that visited Walsh two seasons ago.

Three things to watch

Must easier offensive sledding. Wagner plays slow, is very prone to turning the ball over, ranks 339th in height, and appears rigid in the ways in which they can score. After taking on a gritty Rutgers team on the road, Seton Hall should feel like the first few swings after removing the doughnut from your bat in baseball. If they don’t, that’s worrying.

Spreading the wealth. As highlighted at the RAC, Seton Hall is suddenly suffering from a lack of effective depth after Kevin Willard praised what he said was perhaps the deepest team he’s ever [head] coached at Big East media day. Sandro Mamukelashvili will get there, but fourth-choice is appropriate right now; same goes for Eron Gordon, he hasn’t shown enough consistency when called upon; and where has Mike Nzei gone (besides VCU) after Ish Sanogo reclaimed his starting role? He has been a slight disappointment this year thus far. Seton Hall needs Jordan Walker back — expect that to be the case Wednesday, or Saturday if Willard is feeling cautious. Edit: Think again…

A bounce-back mentality. A staple of some of these better Willard teams has been their ability to rebound after taking welts that sting — and a collapse at an arch-rivals’ building is a painful welt, for sure.  From what I read, this team said all the right things after the loss on Saturday and they have earned the benefit of the doubt. The sky is not falling: Rutgers is far from a bad loss and Seton Hall is sitting about where they were expected to be (11-2), assuming they close out their non-league slate with a pair of wins. This group has seemingly only gained momentum with each setback they have endured, let’s see how they respond this time.

KenPom says: No. 18 Seton Hall 82, No. 232 Wagner 61 (97%)

Projected Wagner starters
PG – JoJo Cooper
G – Blake Francis
G – Devin Liggeons
F – Nigel Jackson
F – AJ Sumbry

Projected Seton Hall starters
PG – Khadeen Carrington
G – Myles Powell
F – Desi Rodriguez
F – Ish Sanogo
F – Angel Delgado

TV: 7ET, FS1
Radio: AM970 / SIRIUS 119 / XM 381
Opening line: SH -21.5

  • Andrew Herbst

    I think we’ll come out focused and ready to go. Khadeem should bounce back. Angel will play well. I hope Myles P takes more shots.

  • Matty P

    Keep noticing people mentioning Powell should be taking more shots, which I don’t agree with in theory since he’s been playing well. The thing is that he’s taken the 3rd most shots on the team behind Desi and Carrington (Desi – 146, Carrington – 120, Powell – 118, Delgado – 114). Besides the 4 key guys nobody else on the team has taken 50 shots. So realistically the only place where shots could be reduced is Carrington which I wouldn’t completely disagree with since outside of the Texas Tech and Louisville games he’s been struggling lately with his shot.

  • Joe J

    Unfortunately, this late game collapse is how their season will end in the NCAA tourney. They’ll get their 22 or 23 wins and then lay an egg when it really counts. It happened vs GInzaga and Arkansas the last 2 years with the same players in the big games. Nothing much has changed and Delgado and Carrington have regressed this year. Hate to say it but this team is a paper tiger which collapses when things get tough late in big games.

    • Joe Schmoe

      ‘Nova game in the BET last year.

    • Mike Walsh

      Joe – step back from the ledge.

      • Joe J

        Just stating the facts. Take off the rose colored glssses. This team has major flaws and it starts at the point and ends with a bench that has no quality depth. How did that 2nd team do against an average at best Rutgers team? Need to look at this team honestly and objectively.

  • PadrePirate

    Watched the replay of RU loss. Two things to add. One, I don’t think Angel impressed any NBA scouts. He got himself mentally out of that game and faded down the stretch. Two, in high tension moments, this team still reverts to hero-ball. Unf, this time it was KC who was forcing shots down the stretch and missing them… Their offense is at its best when there is a lot of movement and passing (in and out, high weave, pick and rolls). The isolation plays work when the hot hand is hot, but KC was clearly not the hot one on Sat and KW went to MP once the game was already lost.

    Keys to this week (Wag, Manh)–spread out the offense; get JW some good minutes behind KC; give bench guys (Cale, Sandro, Nzei, Walker or Gordon) as much playing time as reasonable; control the rock (under -10 TO’s per game)

    • cali jack

      Season to date versus year ago player performance..DR Improved;MP Improved;AD No Change;KC Regressed (because of position change)IS Maybe marginal offensive improvement;MN Maybe marginal offensive improvement.Coaches should be measured by player improvement over time.All six have improved tremendously since freshman year.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Giving the ball to MP down by three with under a minute to play wasnt a bad call.

      • PadrePirate

        I think we were down 4 by the time he got the ball…But regardless, my point was that it was too late. After KC had thrown up about 4 straight bricks, they should have gone to MP earlier.

  • Fishjam

    Jordan Walker has quit the team. Very Puzzling.

    • Joe Schmoe

      I love when these storys come out, then after they leave it “oh he was a problem” or he was a handful for the coaching staff” or “cancer in the locker room”

      • Fishjam

        In this case there were reports all Fall that he was immature and a handful. But, I always took it that he was young and emotional and it was just who he is. Can say the same about Desi and Angel. Never thought that it was that bad that he would quit. Was really looking forward to seeing him play again tomorrow.

        • Joe Schmoe

          When I saw him early in the season my intial thought was, honestly, they gave him #2? As in Jevon Thomas #2 and Keon Lawrence #2? low and behold that didnt take long.

          • cali jack

            Very disappointing.Head case ?

          • shufaninva

            Don’t forget my man Jamar Nutter!!!

    • shufaninva

      A 2nd weekend appearance in the NCAA should really attract a strong PG next year that can be handed the keys to the ship. Otherwise, we are in huge PG trouble for next year. They will have to ride with Gordon or try to convert Cale, which almost never works…although I guess that is what we are doing anyway with KC.

      • shu_92

        They are not converting Cale, he’ll start at the 3 next year.

        Incoming players:
        McKnight is a combo guard and Anthony Nelson has already commited as a PG. We’ll be ok.

        • shufaninva

          Yea, I forgot about Nelson.

    • PadrePirate

      Quite the surprise. I wonder if the whole injury thing was a gentle cover up of behavior issues.

  • Thehall

    It’s a shame. I felt like walker would of been a nice change of pace pg coming off the bench. Could we still be in the hunt for Quinerly. Or is Nova a for gone conclusion.

  • shu_92

    On the positive side, I want to say that besides his play in the two losses that stick out in everyone’s mind, KC is improving quickly at the point.

    I think he’s going to improve all year with Shaheen in his ear. We’re gonna see a different KC come March.

  • PadrePirate

    Here’s Carino’s take on Walker quitting. It’s hard to believe that not being called into the Rutgers game is the real/only reason…
    http://www.app.com/story/sports/college/2017/12/19/seton-hall-basketball-freshman-point-guard-jordan-walker-quits/964740001/

    Even though Gordon has been ok for a couple of stretches, he’s no more a PG than Khadeen. This leaves us paper thin for the rest of the season.

  • Andrew Herbst

    So surprised about Walker. I think there’s more than meets the eye for him quitting. I don’t think RU game was only reason. I hope Myles P gets more opportunities at PG.

  • Louie Dee

    Do you think Jordan’s calling his jellyfam like “I showed them!” Lol

    Guys this is a plus we have an additional scholarship now! It’s not like we beat Texas tech or Louisville because of Jordan Walker, I saw him play and I wasn’t impressed. I actually thought Gordon was more impactful.

    Question: How often do freshmen get to even play a few minutes for a top 25 team? What an amazing opportunity he had and he threw it all away. Great decision making buddy! lol

    I hope someone in his circle of friends or family talks some sense into him.
    “Ego trip: a journey to nowhere.”