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.”