NEW YORK — Seton Hall led by as many as 14, but ultimately failed to bury Butler as the Bulldogs escaped with a win on nearly the last shot in regulation at the Big East Tournament.
Crashing out of the Big East Tournament leaves Seton Hall eligible for the dreaded 8-9 game. They were approximately a 7-seed coming into this one and a neutral court win over a top-50 RPI opponent would have been enough to lock them into a 6- or 7-seed, but now they are relying on the selection committee for a little help.
The 2-3 minutes around the half took the wind out of Seton Hall’s sails a bit. Leading 43-33 with 28 seconds left in the half, Khadeen Carrington fouled Kelan Martin of the perimeter for an easy two points, then Butler scored to open the half prior to a pair of Pirates turnovers. Overall, it was a several possession swing in the Bulldogs’ favor instead of Seton Hall holding a ten-point lead at the half and building upon it.
How about the return from Ish Sanogo? The crowd gave injured returning seniors Sanogo and Desi Rodriguez several rounds of applause from the moment Kevin Willard summoned them off the bench just prior to the second media timeout. Little did they know that Sanogo would display a variety of effective offensive moves, scoring seven points almost instantly, en route to 12 in the first half, which came just short of his career high of 14; Desi was largely quiet and looked tired at times, understandably.
If the offense can focus on what they did right in the first half, watch out. Let me know if this is rash, but that was a top-three offensive half of basketball from Seton Hall this year, given the opponent and venue. Spacing, extra passes, unpredictable ways of creating offense, and lights out perimeter shooting — it was easy on the eyes aside from 13 turnovers, which were perhaps the Hall’s most obvious flaw on the night; Seton Hall shot 29-percent in the second half.
Angel Delgado was shut down. Compared to looking practically untouchable on Saturday night against the same team, Delgado struggled just to score 13 (4-13 fg) to go along with nine rebounds.