Saint Peter’s Notebook: “I’m not a big fan of playing here”; Seton Hall cruises

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — No. 15 Seton Hall sailed to an easy 84-61 win over Saint Peter’s to keep spirits high heading into their all-important game against Rutgers on Saturday.

The Pirates made such easy work of Saint Peter’s, I’d estimate that over half of the post-game media happenings involved Rutgers, or something not opponent-specific like playing at Walsh Gym.

It’s now the second game in a row that Seton Hall has looked comfortable for all 40 minutes — which is easy for spectators to get used to despite wobbly stretches of play against schools like Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth not too far in the rear view.

It’s a good thing that the Rutgers game comes at the time it does, as I would fear what playing a string of non-major programs and beating them soundly would do heading into the Big East. 

Some say growing confidence can only be a positive, but complacency and not testing yourself against the strongest opponents can soften a team.

With that slight tangent aside, here are some quotes from Kevin Willard and Angel Delgado from the depths of Walsh Gym.

KEVIN WILLARD

Key to executing defensively: “The way John [Dunne] plays, he’s got one of the slowest tempos, and they run their offense so well, we played a little bit of zone at the beginning to get them out of rhythm. If you let them get in a rhythm, they’re going to make shots.”

When asked about Angel Delgado being third on all-time rebounds list: “He’s only third?” [told about Walter Dukes] “No one is ever going to catch Walt. It just shows you what a workhorse he has been, how much intensity he’s played with and how much he has brought it every game. You can’t get those numbers if you don’t bring it every game.”

On keeping Delgado in the game when he didn’t have to: “He had nine rebounds.” [KW asked if worried about injuries, etc.] “He understands exactly what to do, and how to do it … [jokes about ways in which they’d get him boards] … I learned this a long time ago from Coach Pitino: When you have seniors who are going to have future careers in the pros, you better take care of their stats. I am always aware where my guys are stat-wise, and I’ll make sure they get what I think they need to get.”

On playing at Walsh Gym: “I’m not a big fan of playing here. I’m not. I told this to Gary Cohen the other night. This was my bright idea about doing this. The problem is we’ve got comfortable playing at Prudential Center. We don’t practice in Walsh, we don’t shootaround in Walsh … Sometimes when you bring school that are used to playing in small gyms, they’re more comfortable in this gym than Prudential Center. Where we are more comfortable in Prudential Center — we’ve never shot well here from behind the arc as long as I can remember, and we didn’t shoot well tonight I don’t think.”

ANGEL DELGADO

On being third on all-time rebounds list: “I didn’t know at all, but that’s great. I came to the school to be one of the best of all time, I’m really excited now that you told me that.”

On if he knew he had nine rebounds like his coach did: “Yeah I knew too, trust me.” 

  • LBP

    I agree that Kids should get their Stats–glad Coach Willard appreciates this approach. Angel is on the map (and the Hall with him) on the double-double stat. What is the harm to keep it going against a St. Peters et al ?

  • Andrew Herbst

    Angel was great tonight. Hopefully he can keep it up. Love seeing him rack up double-doubles.

  • Matty P

    Nice to get an easy win tonight to get the bench guys a little extra playing time and allow the coaching staff to mix and match some lineups to see how they interact with each other. For instance the Delgado and Sandro lineup could be an interesting one if the coaching staff look to spread the floor a little more.

    Also, with how great of a rebounder Delgado is it’s hard to even imagine Walter Dukes on the court. To have 1,697 in three years at SHU is unbelievable and certainly something that I can’t imagine someone ever catching.

    • Joe Schmoe

      Walter Dukes was 7 feet tall and playing during a time when 7 footers werent all that common on the court. He basically stood in the paint and grabbed 20+ boards a game.

  • Mike Walsh

    Myles Cale’s dunk is number 3 on ESPN SportsCenter’s top 10 plays of the day.

  • PadrePirate

    Games at Walsh are good for the students. It’s a shame the team doesn’t feel comfortable in its own gym. This is the first time I hear that they don’t practice there. You mean that they drive down to the Rock everyday for practice? Sounds odd to me.

    Not a big fan of padding stats, but then again, I totally understand doing what it takes to keep him on the NBA radar. With the balanced offense and increased team play we’re seeing this year, it seems like Angel and Khadeen are going to have more modest stats than they could. I loved last week’s box score, 5 guys with double digit scoring. Says a lot about our depth and approach. 19 assists also a sign of good flow and team play.

    • Fishjam

      Padre, they practice on campus in the Rec Center but not on the Walsh court.

      I love the unselfish play also. Assists to FGs made is one of the most telling stats for this team. Khadeen is never going to be a protypical PG who creates for everybody but he doesn’t need to be for us to be successful.

      Everyone on the team needs to pitch in to make the offense dynamic. Moving well without the ball, executing plays well, setting screens, spacing the court properly and always looking for your teammates.

      The VCU game was beautiful not only because all starters had double figures in points but 4 players had between 3 and 5 assists. When everyone plays together and unselfishly we are tough to stop. No overdribbling or forcing shots by anyone.

      • Joe Schmoe

        Theres an Aux gym in the basement of walsh (the old pool) that Ive seen them practicing in before.

    • VinBick

      Sadly, Good Father, Walsh Gym was not packed with students. Mostly Alumni, especially grandfather-types like me, and not a sold out game. The refurbished, bright gym looks really nice. The Rock is a wonderful, first-class venue which is a perfect spot for our home games.

    • RonD

      Totally agree about the stats for Angel and Khadeen. I made the same point on the Trove. It’s going to affect Khadeen more than Angel, he is really sacrificing his scoring for the good of the team.

      • Louie Dee

        I agree that it will affect Khadeen but at the same time winning gets us more national recognition and noticed by NBA scouts. Double edged sword.

    • Joe Schmoe

      There were hardly any students at the game. Season ticket holders, alum w/ jobs and a bunch of empty seats. Not sure if empty seats were sold tickets and people chose not to go or couldn’t make it, or if they were unsold seats.

  • Ardy

    I’m just glad they did not play down to the competition. These are the dangerous games that can throw the team rhythm off.

  • The Other Powell

    Desi [drops mic]

  • shufaninva

    They don’t practice at Walsh? I thought they did.

    • Louie Dee

      They have a practice gym, i think it’s in the lower lever at Walsh game.

  • Louie Dee

    Rutgers vs. SHU sold out! I have my ticket. We need a big showing at the RAC.

    What do you guys anticipate, 35% SHU fans 65% Rutgers fans?

  • Joe Schmoe

    How come Reynolds and Flory dont have their names on the back of their jerseys?

    Flory is shooting 100% from behind the arc…

    • The Other Powell

      Good call. I was wondering the same thing.

    • PadrePirate

      The unofficial rule is 55 deflections (staff counts during practice) before new guys earn jerseys with their names printed…JK

  • kjs2009

    There is a game within a game for these last few OOC games: how will the reserves play? If they become contributors, our ceiling raises higher this year and the transition is easier next year.

    – I would like to see Sandro be more comfortable with the ball, the team is clearly trying to get him going and live up to some of the praise he received in the preseason. I think he has it in him, but needs another breakout performance. I think he would benefit from being on the court with Delgado so Sandro would be the 5th scoring option.
    – Cale has so much potential, but getting his shots has been more difficult than you’d expect. Some of his decision making has been questionable (two ill-advised dunk attempts).
    – I think Eron Gordon has been really steady and will continue to contribute as the 3rd guy off the bench behind Nzei and Cale. He has actually been able to create his shot in a pinch, which is impressive.

    I expect the Rutgers game to be much more hard fought and down to the wire than this one.

  • LBP

    Chris — read Ur Rutgers interview–Have to say Ur much more of a Gentleman than I would have been. Shame we are going to ruin their Season, once again–Not!!!

    • Jersey Jerry

      I’d be happy w/a 73-64 “W”; however, I feel the kids really want to make this last game at the RAC special and I’m looking for bigger spread ~ ~ ~ lets hope we’re both right!

    • Jersey Jerry

      Yeah, good read Chris ~ I’d be happy w/a 73-64 “W”; however, I feel the kids really want to make this last game at the RAC special as they make it 4 in a row; don’t think it will be like last time @ ‘da RAC when we won by 29 … I’m looking for bigger spread in the high teens ~ ~ ~ lets hope we’re both right Chris! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4d61ea12112301fbeefd3a9cae255053226e6caf3fe8db7ff6f7f9a8f9ef306f.jpg

      • PadrePirate

        Spread is down to Hall -7. I think we should count on a dog fight. Best not to underestimate RU. Stranger things have happened.

        • LBP

          Hall played well in first half –10 point lead –nice

  • PadrePirate
  • Matty P

    Really frustrating loss after being up but 10 at the half. They reverted back to last season with their 5+ min drought which is something they’ve done a better job of scouting this year. Willard should’ve taken a timeout around halfway in the 2nd bc Delgado was completely gassed. Just an overall bad job in the second half by everyone involved.

    • PadrePirate

      Not sure what to say, other than we lost the heart/emotional/energy battle in this one, and the crowd played a big factor. This team is often at its worst when facing an energetic underdog. Let’s just hope that this L stings enough to help them take a step forward. We definitely need more out of the bench in games like this, and KC clearly has a hard time running the offense and shooting well.

      • Matty P

        The bench was certainly disappointing. I thought Cale brought some extra energy, but they got nothing being that. Gordon hasn’t shown enough that he can get those extra backup mins in my mind. Going to have to see if Walker can pick up those mins now if he’s healthy. If he can then that should take pressure off Carrington.

  • PadrePirate

    As if this loss wasn’t painful enough, Gtown is on target for their first quality win over Syracuse. It hoits, Doc.

  • Joe J

    Bottom line is this team is just not good enough. For a Senior laden team to lose all their composure and not score a point in the last 6 minutes is inexcusable. They talk a big game and they all came up very small in crunch time against a young Rutgers team. They did the same thing last year in the NCAA tourney. When the pressure is on in big games they fall apart.

  • cali jack

    Thud!!

    Experience evidently doesn’t =High BB IQ.Outscored 17-2 to close out game.Could it be more obvious that KC is not a PG?Can only hope that JW plays significant minutes against the remaining OOC cupcakes and can contribute during the BE season.EG is certainly not the answer.Encouraging to see IS and MC contribution .Mamu has potential but not ready for prime time right now.

  • Joe J

    Powell admitted after the game that his team “could not handle the pressure”. That says it all and it does not bode well for that first NCAA game in March when everything will be on the line for these Seniors. This group is 0-2 in the tourney because they cracked under pressure and if they don’t get tougher they’ll finish their careers 0-3. It’s time for Willard to earn his money this March. Unfortunately, I can see a loss just like this one today in round 1 even after they finish with 20+ wins.