Seton Hall’s Senior Night win over Georgetown epitomizes season

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NEWARK — For the second game in a row and for the nth time this season, Seton Hall notched a win in a crucial grind-it-out 62-59 slug fest with Georgetown that vastly increases the Hall’s NCAA odds.

3 points from the 6:41 to 1:53 mark in the second half.

2 points during a six-minute span mid-way through the second half.

But Seton Hall still won, thanks to a 13-5 overall “run” to finish, including the game’s last five point amidst a myriad of Georgetown mistakes.

Like DePaul just a few days ago, the result is ultimately all that matters at this point in the season.

“We were 3-6 and people were giving us our last rites and this team has found a way and grinded and fought to be 9-8. They did the same thing tonight,” said Kevin Willard of what this game came down to.

“We didn’t have our best energy, our best A-game, but I think you have to give Georgetown a lot of credit for that … I’m proud of how we’ve fought all season.”

Who would have thought a game in which the Pirates shoot 3-of-18 from long range, see just two guys hit double figures, and sustain such demoralizing droughts in the second half would end in victory, let alone taste so sweet.

“Coming back from being 3-6 and now we’re 9-8, I think that’s real big. I don’t think many teams can do that, especially in a big conference like this,” said lone scholarship senior Madison Jones after a strong defensive game.

“It wasn’t pretty at all, but no matter what we gutted it out and we found a way.”

While Jones and most of his teammates weren’t able to crack Georgetown’s defense, it was Desi Rodriguez (27 pts) and Angel Delgado (12 pts, 13 rebs) who did, the latter of which set a trio of milestones.

Delgado set a new Big East single-season record for rebounds (passing Luke Harangody) in the first half and then grabbed his 1,000th board heading into the final under-four timeout, which also pushed him past Patrick Ewing into sixth on the all-time Big East rebounding list, leaving Georgetown’s John Thompson III with nothing but high praise.

“If you look at all the great players in this league, that’s amazing,” he said of the accomplishment. “He’s relentless. He just keeps coming and coming and coming. His work ethic is just unbelievable … He knows that he’s going to go out there and dominate the game.”

While Delgado didn’t dominate tonight, he helped hold the team together in the paint against a physical Georgetown team that didn’t want to go away.

As a result, Seton Hall is now 9-8 in conference play after sitting at 3-6 and up against the ropes, as I wrote at the time, when they traveled to Georgetown in the first meeting. 

“It just shows how we preserve through bad, bad times,” said Jones of the turnaround. “We were down 3-6, our season could have went the opposite way and went downhill from there. We could have doubted ourselves, but I think that’s the main thing we didn’t do, we didn’t doubt ourselves. We stayed together.”

While the Hall was up against it at that moment, they were also in a tough spot when they trailed 54-49 at the under-eight tonight.

An effective but far-from-flashy 13-5 close to the game changed that. 

While quite a few mistakes from the Hoyas aided the Hall’s effort, a seventh Big East game which came down to a final possession could not go against the Pirates.

Just ask Angel Delgado.

“I was telling them, ‘I don’t want to be a bubble team. If you guys want to lose this game and go home, just tell me,'” Delgado recalled of what he said to his teammates at the under-eight.

“But that’s not what is going to happen — I told them we need to pick it up.”

And pick it up they did, right on their way to — likely — their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance for the first time since the early 90s.

  • SHU95

    Nice win, I have to admit that I was one of those who thought the team would not get back to .500 in conference. Crowd was weak to start the game but actually filled in pretty nicely and were loud down the stretch. Afterward, Delgado & Desi hung around the court after their Post game interviews and interacted with several kids who thrilled. Great win!

    • VinBick

      Earlier in the conference portion of the schedule, I was one of the biggest critics of Coach Willard. This team and the coaching staff have proven the skeptics wrong time and again. I focused on the play of Madison Jones often while at the game last night, and he hustled at both ends of the court. Carrington made some crucial shots down the stretch, but played poorly at both ends for most of the game. Powell’s deep shots were bricks, but his drives to the basket were mostly productive.

      This game was a display of how valuable Desi is once again. He carried the load for the first half and made some critical shots when the guards were A.O.L. The BIGS–all of them including Anthony were our saviors. Georgetown is a dirty-playing team that tried to maul and intimidate our BIGS without success. The refs let everyone play an old-style Big East game just like a playground shirts vs no shirts game in any city in New Jersey back in the day. Grit by the Pirates was the difference.

      • LBP

        VinBick– good observation –it did have an old Big East feel–it certainly was physical and I liked the job the Refs did ( we did have whistle benefit so what not to like?)

  • Andrew Herbst

    Great win tonight. It wasn’t easy, but we battled back and pulled it out. Angel and Desi were outstanding. Crowd was terrific. Now it’s gravy going into Butler game. Puts in a nice position going into BE Tourney. GO PIRATES

  • Matty P

    I’m guessing in terms of the Xavier-Marquette game tomorrow we would prefer to have Marquette win since that would ensure SHU would end no worse than 6th in the conference and avoid that opening game against St. Johns. If I’m correct Xavier is the only team that SHU would hold a tiebreaker over.

    • Joe J

      SHU would hold the tie-breaker over Xavier only if Marquette beats Xavier tonight. SHU would only hold the tie-breaker over Marquette in a 3 way tie with Providence.
      There are 4 ways for SHU to get no worse than the 6th seed:
      1. beat butler
      2. A Xavier loss vs Marquette
      3. A Marquette loss vs Xavier and Creighton
      4. A Providence loss to St John’s

      Let’s hope for a Marquette win tonight

      • Joe Schmoe

        But if I understand you correctly, even if Xavier wins, we just eliminate 2 and still have #3. Going to be a wild week. Would really like to see a win @Butler.

        • Joe J

          Yea that is correct Joe. A Xavier win tonight would cut it down to 3 good scenarios. Would like to see the Hall win at Butler as well but it would be a big upset. Butler is playing as well as anyone in the country right now. Plus, we never beat Butler.

          • Joe Schmoe

            That means they are due… lol. Honestly last year in the BET i was somewhat relieved that it was Nova in the final game and not Butler. Go get ’em!

  • SHU95

    I think we have done a lot to make a good case for NCAA consideration, however, I do think we need another win, Butler or first BET game to solidify a spot. The other wild card that nobody has the answer to yet is the number of teams that steal spots by winning their Confrence tourney. SHU has battled hard down the stretch and should get in, but another win should remove all doubt. Go Pirates!!!

    • Joe Schmoe

      Agree. A win at butler solidifies a 6th place minimum seeding in the BET and really ices the cake. Alot can still happen with a L in butler… its going to be a WILD final week in the BE with the whole belly of the conference standings still up for grabs….

      • SHU95

        A road win at Butler would Be the ‘Best’ resume win of the season and take SHU completely of the bubble in my opinion.

        • Joe Schmoe

          It should. There are some interesting matchups this weekend. Gtown won @butler…. im hoping for an on-point kinda day.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Updated analysis says that hall is now 53.8% likely to secure an NCAA tourney bid. up 27.4 percentage points from last week.

    https://www.teamrankings.com/ncaa-tournament/bracketology/

  • The Hobokenite

    I’m really impressed by how far Angel’s low post offensive game has vastly developed and it’s solidifying the team. He’s seeing double teams faster and reacting better to them allowing him to pass the ball out to open players at the correct angles, his footwork is really solid, and he’s not getting overpowered by taller guys anymore. He’s really outworking the slower although taller guys defending him. And because his better offensive play is sharper, we’re executing smarter inside/outside play, opening the floor for better perimeter shooting and drives down open lanes, even though we missed a lot of open 3s last night, it’s promising going into tournament season. It’s amazing that Myles even misses, his shot is so smooth, he gets down on himself too much when he misses. It was also good to see that the defense got more intense when we needed it the most, and the crowd got into it as well at crucial GT possessions down the stretch. Felt like the old Meadowlands crowd. And Dez is really finding his groove as he takes guys into the paint, he’s no longer diving down the lane like a bull getting called for offensive fouls any more. Everyone is just gelling right now. It was great to see live and I can’t wait for BET.

    • Joe Schmoe

      last nights points-in-the-paint are telling of this. thats what saved the W when the three balls weren’t dropping.

    • SHU95

      Great observations… I think the thing that separates Myles from the other ‘shooters’ we have had is his ability to drive the ball or score on cuts to the basket. He is useful even when his shot is not falling. I really think he is going to be a real good player for SHU in years to come.

      • LBP

        I know it sometimes does not look it, but I think he is going to be great and I think Myles Cale will be super

      • ThePirateFan

        He’s got to or he’s not going to get much playing time in the future. After his hot start to the season he’s now shooting 32% from 3-pt range.

  • Just added the photo gallery from last night’s game to the story above.

    • Adam D

      Awesome. Love the shots of JT3 & Willard arguing the calls, gotta love the players interacting with the fans, this group clearly has a special bond with the diehards that come out to The Rock.

      • Most-definitely. Didnt see anything close to this except for Haralds Karlis/Pat Auda and some of that group clapping over their head to fans after the game (not coincidentally, this is a European soccer tradition).

        Then you have Myles Powell/Whitehead giving away their shoes to kids after games, etc. Great to see.

  • PadrePirate

    Most of us have been complaining all year about the leadership vacuum, but at least in game Angel seems to have taken that role. His relentless tenacity seems to push the others to the next level when they need it. “I don’t want to be a bubble team”–you gotta love that

    On to Butler! It’s time to break with the Willard Era jinx!

    • LBP

      Good point PadrePirate– seems it has slowly evolved to his Team

  • Joe J

    With the Xavier loss tonight, the Hall is now guaranteed to finish no worse than the 6th seed in the BE Tourney. Xavier Is locked into the 7th seed and will play DePaul in the 7-10 game. Xavier loses all tie breakers with SHU, Marquette and Providence. Xavier has collapsed.

    • Matty P

      Glad to have locked in no worse than the 6 seed tonight. I’m almost hoping to keep the 6 seed and get Creighton in the first game of the BE tournament. I think theyre a team that’s still struggling at times after losing Watson and would give another strong resume win.

      As for Xavier, they sure have taken a fall since the Sumner injury and has to be worried that they might be on the wrong side of the bubble after tonight. They’re now on a 6 game losing streak heading into tournament discussions and considerations.

      • Joe J

        I agree. The 6th seed is a good spot to be in. Creighton must win at Marquette to clinch the 3 seed. We’ll probably end up with Marquette or providence (if they beat the johnnies and Marquette beats Creighton) this is all assuming the Hall loses at Butler. I am not holding out much hope for a win on Saturday.

    • LBP

      Joe J -if Xavier loses final v DePaul, does it go to NCAAs?

      • Joe J

        I’d say no unless they make a run in the BE Tourney. They’d need to beat DePaul and Butler in the 2nd round. Playing DePaul twice will also hurt their RPI. They are in a bad spot.

  • PadrePirate

    Most likely scenario, IMO: Prov and MU win on Sat, making a 3-way tie at 10-8. SHU loses and Xav wins, both finishing at 9-9 but we win the tie-breaker, so SHU (6) and Xav (7). In this scenario, not sure how the 3,4,5 play out. Prov beat MU twice, MU would have beaten C twice, and C split with Prov… I would guess 3 vs 6 would be Prov/SHU.

    • Joe J

      That is correct. In that scenario its SHU v Providence