Three Thoughts, Three Quotes: No. 20 Seton Hall stunned by Rhode Island

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Jared Terrell scored 32 points including a go-ahead floater with seconds on the clock as Rhode Island shocked No. 20 Seton Hall 75-74 in Brooklyn.

Both sides did well to entertain during the first half and Myles Powell (21p, 5r) was at the forefront, scoring 18 of his 21 including a barrage of threes.

But it was a leaky Seton Hall defense that was to blame as Rhode Island would score 54, a handful of which came on the fast break.

Angel Delgado (18p, 14r) nearly had a double-double in the second half alone and Ish Sanogo (4p, 4r) stepped up to hold the Rams to just 21 points after the break, but it was the 20th and 21st points that sunk the Pirates’ ship.

Jared Terrell lowered his shoulder to get past Desi Rodriguez (12p) before banking in a floater from the near corner with four seconds left. Khadeen Carrington (12p, 2a) then unsuccessfully tried to drive the length of the court to pick up a foul in the paint as Kevin Willard allowed his guys to play without taking a timeout.

My thoughts and quotes from Willard’s radio interview with AM 970 below.

Three thoughts

This result throws a wrench into Seton Hall’s non-conference schedule. Obviously a loss hurts, but Vanderbilt (2-3) is an unknown commodity and likely won’t turn out to be a top-50 win. That’s a lot different than a win and a game against Virginia, but there’s still opportunities in Louisville and Texas Tech.

The first half defense was forgettable. Maybe it’s better when the team starts slow offensively if the trade off is giving up 54 points (Willard: “To give up 54 points, it’s crazy.”). Rhode Island hit four of their first five threes to boost their confidence, but all but one of them were wide open looks including a down screen that Seton Hall didn’t fight through at all. The Rams shot 60-percent from the field and 78-percent from the perimeter in the first half.

Lack of a point guard reared its head tonight. It’s not a direct criticism of Khadeen Carrington, but I was wondering when not having a pure point guard who isn’t a freshman was going to hurt. Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado combined for six of the Hall’s first seven turnovers and the lack of initiating more plays through a lead guard hurt a team with just nine assists on the night. Rodriguez’ drive and turnover late in the second half was indicative of this flaw. Willard lamented post-game about not having Jordan Walker available (thumb ligament) as he said he gives a change of pace compared to Carrington and Eron Gordon.

Three quotes

On his decision not to call a timeout for a final shot: “Sometimes after a team hits a tough one, you can get out and go and try to create. When they’re not as organized you can get a foul … Sometimes you call timeouts in that situation. With that less of time, you attack and try to get something going toward the rim.”

On Ish Sanogo playing a good game, especially the second half: “I still don’t think he is playing at the level he can defensively, all the time. He’s got to be a little more active. He has to be a guy that steps up our defensive intensity. That’s something I’ve got to look at going forward. From a defensive intensity standpoint, what we can do as teams go at us, I need to switch Mike [Nzei] and Ish to cover Angel [Delgado] a little more.”

On having just nine assists: “That’s what I was really disappointed in. That’s not how we’ve been playing. We’ve been passing the basketball. We were putting our head down tonight. Everybody. I wish I could say it was one person, but it was everyone.”

And-one:

On Delgado’s free throws and how he is worse down the stretch of games: “Especially this time of the year, he’s not quite in great game shape and that’s one reason his free throw percentage goes up as the year goes on is that he’s getting better and better and in game shape. He’s capable of making them. He’s got to make them.”