With consecutive wins over Texas Tech and Louisville, Seton Hall has shown in back-to-back games that they can win in multiple ways.
Unlike their smooth high-powered win over No. 22 Texas Tech on Thursday, Seton Hall overcame some stretches of dysfunctional offense and their first road environment to register their first win at Louisville since 1952.
Stop. Doubting. This. Team. I was getting some replies on Twitter and seeing others talk about the negatives: Myles Cale mistakes, the offense looking out of sync, Kevin Willard’s decision-making. There are shreds of validity in most of those critiques, but at some point the results should outweigh the micro observations. Bottom line: consecutive wins over ranked opponents away from home. This week will be remembered on Selection Sunday.
Some key starters stepped up late. Khadeen Carrington scored 12 of his 18 in the second half including a huge and-one play to go up 62-61, Myles Powell hit another huge late three-pointer (he also snapped a 10-0 run earlier in the half), and although he carried the team in the first half, Desi Rodriguez lowered his shoulder yet again en route to a bull-dozing game-winner. Speaking of clutch: Seton Hall sank their last seven shots.
Seton Hall played a very good first half, but it could have been better. They took the crowd out of the game via some early offensive rebounds and forcing six Louisville turnovers in the first eight minutes, but a pair of offensive lulls later in the half allowed the hosts to stay within a couple possessions. Further, a reoccuring free throw deficiency (7/14 in first half) and a superior Louisville team in transition prevented Seton Hall from building a bigger lead.
Three quotes from Kevin Willard
General statement on the game: “That’s the best Louisville has played. They played really good against Purdue, but they really were engaged defensively against us to get us standing a little bit. Any time you get a road win, it’s like gold. Proud of the guys. We were a little emotionally spent from the Texas Tech game, that was Thursday night, we had a quick turnaround Friday-Saturday, for a quick turnaround I was really proud of our effort.”
On late offensive execution (7/7 to close game): “Their zone really had us stagnant. I just started going through our pick-and-roll package. We have a couple ones where we get cutters, anytime you cut against a matchup zone usually something is good … I think we started executing offensively and stopped going one-on-one as much and did some good things.
On Myles Cale’s defensive impact: “He was. We got down seven, he checked in, he got two huge deflections. Got us on the break, got a layup. All of a sudden, he gave us good juice off the bench.”
On performing in such a tough environment: “It really was [impressive]. Executing down the stretch … three of those [plays], we just put in this week for Texas Tech. So, the fact that they executed them and knew what they were doing on that short notice, was good.”