Seton Hall rises to the occasion in 90-84 win over Creighton in Big East-opener

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NEWARK, N.J. — Faced with several glancing blows against a high-powered Creighton team, there were plenty of times when a senior-laden Seton Hall team could have folded — but they didn’t, and punched back harder.

How about when Creighton finished the first half on a roll, scoring a series of lay-ups including a Marcus Foster floater at the buzzer?

Or when the Jays extended their lead to 13 — the largest of the game for either team — just seconds into the second half after scoring 53 in the first?

Surely when All-American candidate Angel Delgado fouled out with 3:08 to play and his team trailing 84-83? Seton Hall would score the next seven, holding Creighton scoreless the rest of the way.

“No, I don’t think it was a game we would have won,” said Khadeen Carrington (18p, 3a) of whether this team would have won the same game the last two years.

“We would have won two years ago, maybe last year, maybe, 50-percent [chance]. This is a huge step for us right now.”

For a team that has not historically responded overly well to so many ups and downs in the course of a game, they rolled with the punches tonight and looked confident and composed with their backs up against the wall, even with a raucous Jersey crowd losing their minds just feet from the court.

“In the first half, those guys punched us in the face right away,” said Angel Delgado, who had 18p, 14r, 5a on the night.

“It’s our home and we’ve got to protect our home, so in the second half, [we said] every four minutes we’ve got to play harder than them.”

The key to plugging the defensive leaks and steering the Pirate ship in the right direction?

“At halftime everybody was positive. We knew what the game was, we knew he kept giving them easy buckets, easy transition points,” said a calm and collected Carrington post-game.

“That was the game right there in the first half; they got ten points off of little mistakes, like loose balls, second chance points, we knew once we took that away that was the game right there.”

Seton Hall’s win contained the most emotion I’ve seen in a home game since perhaps two seasons ago when they beat Xavier and everyone started to realize it meant the first NCAA tournament in years.

It felt like an NCAA tournament game, but was somehow just — just — a Big East-opener.

“We’re coming for everybody’s head right now,” said Delgado, defiantly.

“We’ve worked too much for this, we’re going crazy in every game. I’m telling you right now, we’re not giving up. It could be 1 second [left], down by 10, we’re not giving up, not even for a second … In this league, you sleep, they eat you. It’s like a pit-bull trying to chase you every day. This league is no joke man.

“It was crazy, you know it’s Big East time,” continued Delgado, speaking about the atmosphere at Prudential Center.

“I got so happy, I was ready for this. Big East play man, it’s life-changing.”

  • Matty P

    Great win tonight for the team. This Creighton team is going to create a lot of issues for teams. They move the ball up the court so quickly that it causes issues for teams to get back and matching up. SHU did a much better job in the second half then the first and it made a big difference. Delgado had a nice game and did a good job finding his teammates. Powell continues to play tremendously on the offensive end and did a great job on the defensive end covering Foster. If this team can get a little relief from the bench it’s going to be a very special year.

    • LBP

      Marty P —
      Thought Cale did a great job on Thomas and Walker brought an energy– Mamu played poorly but he has to hustle more on D –caught sulking but he will learn.Hall does not win this game without Ish–so ,in all , the Bench helped and will only get better

      • Matty P

        I guess I should clarify a little. When I said bench I meant more of the guys outside of the starters + Nzei or Sanogo. It would be nice if they could contribute more than 15 mins of combined game time, 4 pts, and 3 rebs. I know the starters +1 are going to carry this team but it’s going to be tough to ask them to play 35+ mins each night and continue to carry the load against big east quality players.

  • The Other Powell

    Unfortunately I wasn’t at the game tonight, but it seemed like there was a great fan turnout. I hope this will become the norm and I think it will if the grit displayed tonight continues. This team feeds off of that crowd at the Rock and they deserve reciprocity from the Pirate faithful. Couldn’t think of a better way to start BE play.

    • The Other Powell

      Chris, again, we’ll done with the coverage. Much appreciated and happy holidays to you! LGH!

    • Matty P

      I went to the game and was originally worried since it felt light right before the opening tip. Heard a number of people having trouble with traffic which could have been a big factor in that. But once the game got going the crowd filled in nicely and really got into it in the second half once there was something to get excited about. I even noticed the sideline seats standing for long portions of the second half which I feel rarely occurs.

  • PadrePirate

    Like the tenacious attitude. Game won at the stripe down the stretch but FTs remain an issue. Defense did a good job locking down on their guards in 2H. Surprised that Krempl kid had a career game against our front court. Nice to see Nzei contribute but the bench is a big disappointment.
    Impressive 2H by Prov tonight over St John’s. I still think the Johnnies are a tough match up and fun to watch.

    • Matty P

      Not sure who St John’s are going to have playing for the game on Sunday. Saw that Ponds got hurt and had to sit out for a large portion of the second half (not sure of his actual injury or the extent of it) and LoVett has been out for a number of games. If both of those guys are unable to play it’s a big hit to St John’s roster.

      • PadrePirate

        Wow. I didn’t realize that from the box score. Ponds and Lovett are their scoring core. Ahmed can step up. Others less known to me. I think we could take them at full force but they could be a tournament team.

        • Matty P

          Yea Ponds and LoVett are a very dangerous duo who can put up points quickly. Without them it’s a very different team which appeared to struggle against Providence, 1 pt game at the half which they lost by 18. Last thing I read about Ponds was Mullin saying he wasn’t sure how it occurred, but noticed him limping in the second half.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I loved how our guys responded in the second half. Creighton is a force to be reckoned with and will be tough in BE play. Looking forward to Sunday and getting to see St. John’s.

  • SHU95

    Really good Win to get things started in BE play against very good competition. Great balanced scoring and better D in the second half. Our Big 4 aside, I really thought Nzei was very good tonight, tons of energy and 14 boards. Glad to see Ish out there as well…Hoping that the bench can increase their minutes as we go. St Johns up next….

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  • Bob Murphy

    Very good win, exciting game and excited crowd. Hopefully this team gets the fan support they deserve.

    I thought the keys to the win were that we hit our free throws in the last 6-7 minutes. Desi, in particular looked very good at the line.

    Two good teams playing very competitively. Creighton will be looking for us in the rematch – and would not be surprised to see them in March at MSG as well.

    Surprised that Walker saw time. If he can hold his own, and keep his head on straight, it will be a big plus for us.

    Angel needs to stay away from the fouls… or coach needs to substitute him a little more. Interested to see, after SJU game, how this team does on the road in late game situations.

    • Bob Murphy

      One thing I forgot in my post – we need to work on being ready for teams to change to zone. We looked a little shaky on those possessions in the last 10 minutes.