An 18-6 second half run from Seton Hall broke the game open as nine Pirates scored in an important 75-63 win over Ole Miss at the Charleston Classic.
Isaiah Whitehead scored 12 of his 17 in the second half while a strong supporting cast of Angel Delgado (8 pts, 11 rebs), Desi Rodriguez (12 pts), Khadeen Carrington (10 pts, 5 asts) and Ismael Sanogo (6 pts, 7 rebs) all contributed their fair shares.
The game began in a sloppy and forgettable fashion. Both Seton Hall and Ole Miss came out at a high tempo, but handfuls of quick, ill-advised shots were hoisted early and often, most of which missed.
Knowing Seton Hall isn’t overly adept from long range, Ole Miss showed a lot of zone early and were efficient at scooping up offensive rebounds, the Rebels had 18 in the game. Derrick Gordon (9 pts, 3 rebs) saw his first start of the season in place of Isaiah Whitehead, who returned two minutes into the game after a concussion scare that sidelined him for the last 20 minutes of the Bradley game on Friday night.
It wasn’t until just before the first half’s under-four media timeout did the game really start to entertain. Seton Hall scored eight points in a matter of 90 seconds by way of a nice outlet feed from Whitehead to Carrington and back-to-back triples from Carrington and Veer Singh; Ole Miss scored five points of their own over the same span to give the game a nice jolt going into the half.
The second half was injected by the late energy of the first as both teams came racing out of the break. It took five minutes of back and forth play that slightly favored Ole Miss until Seton Hall really sprang to life. First it was Derrick Gordon, who scored seven straight points that included a few hard fouls. Then, it was Mike Nzei (9 pts, 5 rebs) who once again provided an unforeseen second half spark with two baskets that followed a bad turnover from Isaiah Whitehead.
Instead of things going in the wrong direction, everyone responded well to Whitehead’s mistake, most importantly the point guard himself. The turnover, his fifth of the game, came after three missed shots to open the half and could have easily resulted in Isaiah losing his focus. Instead, Whitehead went on to score 12 points and dish three assists over the final 11 minutes.
The surge that was created by Gordon and perpetuated by Nzei and Whitehead ballooned into an 18-6 run after Seton Hall had fell behind 42-40. Ole Miss would cut their deficit back down to five with six to play, but with Whitehead leading the charge and everyone contributing, the Pirates’ lead was never really in doubt the rest of the way.
This was a really important win for Seton Hall after losing to Long Beach State and notching a win against a weak Bradley team to start the Charleston Classic. Ole Miss will most likely be a top-60 team this season and a win here helps salvage something for the Hall after a rocky start in South Carolina