Seton Hall stuns No. 17 Louisville 79-77 on last-second Rodriguez bucket

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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.

 

Three thoughts

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.”

And-one: 

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.”

  • regularJoe2

    Desi again! Is there a more dynamic wing in the Big East? The Beast from the Bronx! Incredible road win.

  • Andrew Herbst

    What a great win. So proud of this team. Desi was awesome. This was a huge week for our resume. Now we have a nice week off to enjoy. Can’t wait for next Saturday. GO PIRATES!

  • kjs2009

    Big time win. Not everything was going their way. They showed grit with this one. Hopefully they keep this grit as they get more national attention and re-enter the top 25.

    Our stars really showed up. Desi and Angel played perfect games, Carrington made some clutch buckets, Myles Powell again with a big shot (and 2 big assists) down the stretch.

    I was really impressed with how Sanogo played with 4 fouls for the final 7 minutes. The team’s defense is just so much more intense with him on the floor.

    Our bench struggled. They will get more minutes over the next 5 games, so hopefully they can get in a rhythm. We will need them to make some contribution once conference play beings.

    Hopefully fans show up for the remainder of the OOC and early BE to reward this team!

    • PadrePirate

      Important remark you make about the bench. Hopefully Cale, Sandro and Nzei can get some quality PT over the next few weeks. I’d like to see walker back too. KCs defender was meeting him way out front and giving him fits all night. For some reason they couldn’t pull off the in and outs or curls against tge zone. Maybe JW can give the Off a little jump start when things stagnate.

      • 1968_bills_fan

        Are they thinking about red-shirting Walker? Remember that they are doing well with Carrington at the point, with Desi and Gordon handling the ball as well. Next year there are Quincy (a superstar point at a lower college level) and Nelson (4-star) coming onto the roster. Walker might be buried on the depth chart and just see a few minutes a season off of the bench. Maybe the thought is to red-shirt him a year to see if time and growth bulks him up a bit and improves his game. If not, then the writing would be on the wall and he could transfer (without waiting a year), start at a lower level school and have a fine college career there. Also, free up a scholarship. ??

        • Jason

          The thought of him redshirting if his injury keeps him out longer than expected had also crossed my mind. However, it seemed like KW missed the change of pace he would bring after the RI game and with the additions you mentioned on the way next year, they probably don’t need to save him. I hope he gets on the court soon. I think the kid is the real deal and could grow into a big time Big East PG, like J. Theodore. It is too bad he is missing valuable playing time during the non-conference run but I hope he gets back soon. We are going to need him later in the year.

  • The Other Powell

    Great win…and thankfully we got it. Am I the only one that felt like this should’ve almost been a blowout for SHU on the road? I was preparing for a frustrating start to the wk. I thought that Ish did a great job today despite the early foul trouble. Desi is making a case to play at the next level, Powell (my BFAM) was clutch late, and any praise for KC coming from Willard was certainly warrented this time around. Go Hall!

    • The Other Powell

      Next practice should solely be foul shooting…thoughts?

      • Joe Schmoe

        Not what this team does.

        • The Other Powell

          JS, my comment was tongue in cheek…however, with all of this talk about this team being considered ‘lunch bucket’, wouldn’t that imply doing the little things to offset lack of elite talent?

          • Mike Walsh

            One good observation! When Desi missed one of his free throws he appeared to be really upset with himself. I think these guys know it’s something to work on. I think we will see some improvement.

          • Joe Schmoe

            The thing is, if you put all of these guys in the gym, they are all hitting 997 out of 1000 free throws. They are elite basketball players. They’ve been practicing free throws since they were 5. Now you go into a game situation, esp in an unfriendly arena like yesterday, add in the pressure, making those charity stripe shots is tough.

          • The Other Powell

            JS, we’re splitting hairs here. Yes, they’re elite basketball players in the sense that you or I certainly aren’t challenging them to a game of one-on-one. I think the term ‘elite’ was being used in the context of the ‘one-and-done’ type talent out there. It’s semantics…either way, I hear you on their ability to do it in practice with game situation presenting different challenges. Bottom line, other teams seem to be better from the foul line than we are…and it will hurt us if we don’t improve. Look, it was a great win. See you next time.

          • Joe Schmoe

            I just think its silly to harp on FT’s that much. That is just the breaks sometimes. Look at Louisville and the goal tending calls (and one they didn’t call) a little more discipline on the boards by Louisville changes the game potentially… just like a few more foul shots made by the hall, or one or two less sloppy dribbling, Myles cale missed a couple easy layups rushing on the fast break. they are all little things but the team still did what the needed to do to get out of Louisville with the W.

          • PadrePirate

            I’m a big fan of making FT’s. If I had my way, we’d make them all 🙂 But, I’ve been watching this team since KW’s first year, and I don’t think he’s ever had a 70% FT team. Just part of the fun and frustration of college hoops and SHU in particular

          • Joe Schmoe

            Trevon Duval isn’t hitting 70% from the charity stripe either.

          • VinBick

            Hey, Joe, I doubt your claim of them making 997 out of 1,000 in a gym at practice. Someone has to be found to help these players improve their skills at the foul line. This has been a trait of Willard teams beyond these particular guys.

          • Joe Schmoe

            You can doubt it if you want, I’ve seen it first hand. In practice MP doesnt miss from beyond the 3 point line. In game is a different animal. Pressure, nerves, hostile environment, it all factors in.

          • Ardy

            If they give him the ball N the game like they do in practice and they will get that output N the games. MP doesn’t get the ball in 2H and rarely misses when his feet are planted.

          • Joe Schmoe

            Myles Powell doesn’t get the ball in the 2H? Myles Powell individually closed out the Texas Tech game and had huge shots to close the gap in the 2H of the Louisville game. I dont know what games you are watching.

          • Ardy

            Let’s just watch to see. I did DVR the game. Will go back and look. I know of the 7pts. 1 basket was off a steal, one was off a trap, and one was a pass. Form the games I’ve been to and have watched seems like he is often open as KW mentioned that they don’t look for him enough.

          • Joseph Attanasi

            What pressure was there in the first 10 minutes of the game when they went 3 for 10 from the line? Get real.

            If they make FT’s in practice like you said, they’d make them in the game, pressure or not. The reality is, they don’t make them in the game because they don’t make them in practice.

            Shooting FT’s is all about technique and concentration. It’s obvious that technique is not that good for a lot of these guys, but I think that the concentration is what is really lacking. How many times have you seen a guy make his first FT only to barely hit the front of the rim on his second? It happens way too often. Stay focused and the FT shooting will get better.

          • Joe Schmoe

            Nerves, hostile arena, etc etc. 3 of 10 is also an extremely small sample size. its not indicative of actual percentages.

            “If they make FT’s in practice like you said, they’d make them in the game, pressure or not.”

            This is an untrue statement.

            “The reality is, they don’t make them in the game because they don’t make them in practice.”

            Also an untrue statement. I have witnessed practices with my own eyes.

            “How many times have you seen a guy make his first FT only to barely hit the front of the rim on his second? It happens way too often. Stay focused and the FT shooting will get better.”

            Again, nerves, pressure, hostile arena, etc etc etc. It all comes into play. Your the guy who needs to get real bro.

          • Valentino

            It has been 3 years for our seniors to figure this out. Someone on Kevin’s staff should have been able to help improve the numbers.
            Can anyone think of very successful teams who were poor FT shooters?

          • Joe Schmoe

            These are elite players. Exactly what “talk” of the Pirates being a “lunch bucket” team are you referring to?

    • LBP

      TOP– there is a reason that Louisville has won 59 of the last 60 out- of -Conference Games at their place. I It is a tough venue –maybe worth 8-10 points. On top of that Louisville played over its head Offensively.
      This Hall Team is not a finished product. This win may be worth 2 seeding spots come March.

      • The Other Powell

        LBP, I agree with your assessment and perhaps my post was on the harsher side. I’ll take the win all day…I guess I’m just ready for that finished product and I see the potential. Alas, the season is young, and hopefully come March we tighten things up. However, winning games against ranked opponents while leaving bunches of points on the table can create complacency and a sense of ‘it’ll all be good and we’ll find a way to win regardless’. We play that way against Nova and the result is different, I assure you.

        • LBP

          TOP — This Team does not have “elite Athletes” . It is a “LUNCH BUCKET ” Team and I believe one of the reasons I think the Seton Hall Family loves them so much. In fact, this may be the “most likeable” Team I have ever watched and I have had Season tickets since 1968. They make most Games roller-coasters–but Fun. The Hall can lose to anyone if they do not work and they can beat anyone if they work hard.

          • The Other Powell

            LBP, again, agreed. I remember going to Brendan Byrn (sp?) with my dad to watch the old PJ teams in the late 80s and I can’t think of a more likeable group. I’m also an advocate of the 3 and 4 star recruits over the 5s…kids that will stay with the program and gel over a number of years, rather than the entitled elites that look at college hoops as a stepping stone. We’re on the same page – I’m just trying to avoid early heart failure here. And despite the lack of elites, I’ll take a team that plays together and for each other over any big-time program with players leased from the NBA for a year. Overall, I’d say we’re in agreement…you’re talking to a Mets/Jets fan here. I know nothing about what it feels like to be a front-runner. Character building team fandom is all that my father provided me in my youth – what else can I say 😉

          • LBP

            A fellow Jets Fan can say anything he chooses. Good posts

          • The Other Powell

            I knew there was something more bw us, LBP…and I appreciate your thoughts as well.

          • PadrePirate

            Roller-coaster games is definitely our TM. Have they taken an early lead and held a comfortable margin all season? The formula, so far, has been slow start, changing leads 1H until we’re tied or narrow margin at midway point, then stronger second half, with a few swings to make it interesting. Scrappy and tenacious play, high drama, with Angel-like smile.

    • PadrePirate

      Watching that game, I felt the same way. If we had played cleaner (a lot of sloppy passing and ball handling, FT’s, and some clueless offensive sets), it seemed like we could have been up 20 most of the game. However, what appeared to be weak offense on our side was probably due to their tight, pressure D on our guards. That Mahmoud kid really disrupted a lot of shots too.

  • PadrePirate

    Last year Angel seemed like the emotional leader, but this feels like Desi’s team right now. He has been carrying the load offensively, esp when other things aren’t working.

    If those offensive lulls were due to Lvilles zone, then they did a much better job at defending us than TTech. A lot of grit pulled off a huge road win. I was really upset by the stagnant offense and solo drives, but somehow the guys got the job done.

    • LBP

      Padre it is great to have a Senior Team . I still believe that when Deeno gets better , Hall gets better. I was at Game and everyone said Louisville could not have played better. Had SHU hit FTs in first half, do not think it would have been close. Thought Coach Kevin did his best job ever.
      But best was the way Hall won. Take the ball to the rim and muscle NYCity ball style the score, knowing the Refs had swallowed the whistle.

      • PadrePirate

        I thought L’s defense was the best we’ve seen so far. For some reason, that zone plus ball pressure on the guards really got us out of our normal offensive flow for long stretches of the game. TTech was billed as a top defensive team, but the Hall’s ball movement vs them was much better than last night. We beat Lville on scrappy D (Ish), muscle drives (KC, Dez), and some big buckets down the stretch (Powell, Angel).

        I’m not sure why you think KW had a particularly good game. Explain. He did manage to get them to protect the ball better in 2H, but I was hoping he would help the kids beat that zone and insist on more of the inside-out flow that seemed to work early on.

        All said and done, an impressive road win for the resume, but November quirks still need work before BE play.

        • Fishjam

          In general, the team played sloppy on offense a lot but they did much better with their spacing to allow Desi and Khadeen room to make plays going to their left.

          The other things I thought Willard did well:

          – Down 7 around the 11-minute mark we were playing very poorly on defense, especially the perimeter with Ish out with 4 Fouls. KW decided to go with the fresh legs of Gordon and Cale, a gutsy move down so much late in game.

          It worked. They tightened up and cut-off penetration to get stop after stop and create TOs. Cale had 3 steals in 2 minutes and minutes later Ish came in and got a steal for a breakaway dunk that capped a 12-2 run that put us up 64-61 with around 7 minutes left.

          – Down the stretch when our offense started to struggle with their matchup zone, KW called several plays (some new) and they all worked. The familiar Angel handoff to Powell off an Ish screen worked again for a big 3. The beautiful Powell bounce pass to a streaking Desi was executed perfectly and the game-winning drive by Desi. Smart call to spread out the floor with 3 players on the right side and only Powell in the left corner gave Desi the entire half of the court to drive to his dominat left side to make that play. Also if he took Timeout there, I have to believe Padgett draws up a defense to double Desi or somehow cutoff his left side.

          Coach made the right calls in the 2nd half to set us up to win.

          • Valentino

            Fishjam, nice to see your post. I believe spreading the floor is the key to taking advantage of Desi, Dino and Powell’s ability to create and get to the rim. You rarely get open outside looks without penetration. Angel’s jump shot will help them space opponents.
            Foul shooting will bury us in some games – hopefully not the big ones.

        • LBP

          Hi Padre–
          Thought Coach W, had a great end-game communicated without using last T/O; thought his demand that glass be attacked ( despite potentially embarrassing blocks) was key to Hall out scoring UL 40-26 in the paint; thought his handling of potential foul problems was great; thought putting Eron and Cale in when it looked like UL would pull away was bold and effective; thought his switching of Ds confused UL and made them “settle ” for tuff pull-ups ( albeit UL shot the ball out-of-their minds)

          I respect Coach Willard and I have seen his growth. I enjoyed his “swift justice” when he got on Cale for putting ball behind his back on a breakaway after a great steal ( and everyone on this Board knows that I believe Cale is Special -almost beyond reproach). For these reasons , and because he did not panic in a more than hostile venue, I thought he was very good last night.

          • Matty P

            Willard has definitely grown over the course of the past 7 years and the school’s patience has started to pay off. One thing I didn’t realize until recently is how young Willard still is. He’s only 42 which makes him the third youngest coach in the league behind only Lavar Jordan at Butler and Steve Wojo at Marquette, but he’s already been in the league for 7 years.

  • PadrePirate

    Will Desi’s game translate to the pro level? Saw some discussion of this post game on ESPN.

    • The Other Powell

      Although I mentioned that in my post below, the jury is still out. He certainly has the athleticism, body potential, and can score the ball from anywhere. If he continues on this trajectory with his play, and The Hall makes it to the Sweet 16 (providing more national exposure), I don’t see why he wouldn’t get some consideration in the mid to late second round.

      • PadrePirate

        Just to compare with a recent alum, Fuquan was a great scorer and active defender and could take over a game like Dez. But he had a thinner frame, without the bulldozer physicality of Desi, had a predilection for those terrible fade-away leg-scissor jumpers, etc. I think he got invited to a few camps but quickly signed overseas. Dez has a more physical, athletic game which should translate well to pro-level, but the size advantage he now enjoys at wing will be neutralized. If he makes it, I would guess that it’s as a SG. The weak spots I see is that he almost always drives left and still lacks court vision to dish when D collapses on him, although this has improved.

        • The Other Powell

          Agreed on all fronts, Padre…it would be a tough transition and the advantages he leverages at the college level would certainly be neutralized. SG would be the most logical place for him at the next level – however, in order to be relevant he’d need to improve in those areas you mentioned. Smart money would be on a career overseas, but you never know.

    • Rich Ricci

      I’m not sure if Desi Rodriguez’s game will translate to the NBA but, of the guys on this team, I feel he easily has the best chance if making it, PadrePirate. He has the size and athleticism to be an effective guard, provided he continues to improve his handle and use his length to play tough defense. His jump shot has improved dramatically since his Freshman year and the mental lapses or funks he went into from time to time earlier in his career appear to be a thing of the past, so he’s apparently matured quite a bit both emotionally and mentally since the end of last season. As long as he responds positively to coaching, I firmly believe Desi clearly has the tools to be a solid role NBA player on the right team.

      • SHU95

        Agree, I think Desi has such a uniqueness to his game as I have written before. He creates matchup problems and has become so polished offensively…if he continues to play at this high level, he will certainly get invites to camps and who knows… I think all 4 of our seniors will be good pro’s somewhere and hopefully make a good living next year & beyond… They all deserve it.

        • LBP

          SHU95 — I think Ish may be a BBall Coach. I would hope he pursues. Really smart player and sees spacing .

      • Bob Murphy

        Agree. I think Desi probably has the best chance to become a rotation player at the NBA level from a size, body type and athletic standpoint. But that is far in the future. This was a great win yesterday – keep building on it. Although it is very early, that game had the intensity of a tournament game – and coming right after Texas Tech, really is a nice preparation for what will come in March.

    • ThePirateFan

      I have my doubts. He bullies his way into a lot of his buckets. A lot of dropped passes that he gets to first then beats out of position defenders. Relies on the left a lot. His three point shot is much improved, but idk if he has the quick trigger (yet) that he’ll need in the NBA. I’m not sure it’ll translate. I also think it’s only been a handful of games and that it takes much more than this to identify a player that can move on to the next level.

      To be honest Louisville seemed to have done a poor job scouting that out, they didn’t stop his left or Carrington’s as much as BE teams will.

  • Joe Schmoe

    A great game and a great win vs a tough opponent!

  • Mike Walsh

    Two observations:

    – Ish! Ish! Ish! Ish! He played a phenomenal game and kept us in it through our offensive lapses. His importance does not show up in the stats, but, his play is so important to this team. Watch the game over and pay attention to his contributions. ISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    – When the Hall was having trouble in the 14:00 to 10:00 minutes in the second half, KW inserted Cale, Gordon, Nzei and Mamu, with Rodriguez, and they stopped the bleeding. The seniors are fantastic, but, I am very impressed with Gordon, Cale, Nzei and Mamu. There is so much ability and grit on this team which will overcome the lapses. I, also, agree that this would have been a blowout if we played a little cleaner.

    GO PIRATES!!!

  • steve8

    Great game. BTW where was Taureen Thompson? I usually see him on the bench but was he “suspended” or something because of his celebrations last game? I know Grant had to force him off the court last game after celebrating with Powell. I love watching the bench cheer on the players. Go Pirates!

    • Matty P

      I believe transfers who need to sit out a year aren’t allowed to travel with the team. I would imagine MSG would be an exception since he could easily get to the stadium vs having a flight to Louisville.

    • Mike Walsh

      I don’t think that was TT who was grabbed by the coach. TT was wearing a white top the whole game and the player that ran onto the court was wearing dark gray.

      • steve8

        100% was TT. I believe Chris even tweeted about it. It was a delay of game penalty. Also TT was wearing gray btw.

  • PadrePirate

    Some fun postgame quotes last night by AM970 guys about Georgetown’s less than impressive out-of-conf schedule: “Another big win for Gtown (over Coptin State)”…”Have they played anyone in the top 300 yet?”…”Jesse Govan is leading the BE in rebounds (over Angel) because he’s been getting 12 a night vs midgets.”

  • VinBick

    So nice to read lots of positive comments after this gigantic win in the OOC schedule, especially at such a tough venue for visiting opponents. My prediction here was that the Pirates would lose one game during the OOC portion of the season. Well, apparently those of us who were so optimistic were on point. I simply picked the wrong team who ended up beating us. By the way, Rhode Island is on a roll. That will not go down as a bad loss on the record.

    Congratulations to the players and coaches for a great win! The team was probably too busy preparing for the game to go down the street to tour the Louisville Slugger factory.

  • Ardy

    I see this team is starting to recognize how good they really are and are playing close to their potential. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT. I am still waiting to see what happens when they start clicking on all cylinders .They will make pirate history this year. I can feel it!!!

    • Joe Schmoe

      There is still a long way to go….gotta go to work.

      • Matty P

        Agreed, I think they still have some work to do as well. I think Carrington has done a pretty good job so far but can still improve, the defense at times has given up a lot of easy points, and the freshman will grow and help to contribute more against better opposition.

  • Ardy

    Maybe they will be clicking on all cylinders when the BE starts all the way thru March. Even commentators and coaches are expecting BIG things in March from the Hall.
    I know that Nova knows that SH is coming to get their BE title back!!

    • Joe Schmoe

      Speaking of Nova, that game at the Wells Fargo Center is going to be a good one.

  • fouline

    Finally, the season has started. What a good game. And a great win!

  • Joe Schmoe

    Rankings: I predict Louisville and Texas Tech drop from the rankings, and SHU reappears at mid/low 20s…

    • LBP

      Joe–
      Think I am going to ask you for help on my betting picks. Seton Hall rose to 19 and both Louisville and Texas Tech dropped from top 25. ( Altho TT just missed at #26 and Rhode Island is now # 27). Thought Hall would go to 16 but alsot hought Jet/Chefs would be a good under bet.

      • Joe Schmoe

        I think the rankings work much like your credit score. It doesn’t take much to drop like a stone, but it takes a serious about of work to get it back up again. They SHOULD hold onto a ranking for awhile now…

  • SHU95

    Chris, any word on Jordan Walker’s injury? Thanks!

  • Matty P

    Interesting article about SHU from Rush the Court which I thought people here might enjoy reading. http://rushthecourt.net/2017/12/05/maturity-resilience-strong-start-has-seton-hall-poised-for-a-special-season/

  • VinBick

    This team may go a long time without another loss. We are witnessing a very special year unfolding. Join the fun at the Rock and let’s invade the Rac on December 16th!