SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Operating against a program known for its defensive body of work, No. 15 Seton Hall used the same blueprint to bury Saint Peter’s 84-61.
Sparked by defensive focus led by none other than Ish Sanogo (6p, 4r), the Hall held their guests to four points for just shy of the opening ten minutes, allowing themselves time to build a balanced 26-8 lead following the under-eight.
One of the most reliant teams on the three in the nation, Saint Peter’s missed their first seven attempts before draining their next nearly 14 minutes into the game.
Following a minor Peacock surge which cut their deficit to 35-23 in the closing minutes of the half, Seton Hall closed on a 7-0 run to squelch any doubt.
Angel Delgado (18p, 11r) had Saint Peter’s coach John Dunne seated on the bench head-in-hands after he converted on a flawless set play to open the second half, which epitomized how the Peacocks were faring.
Despite being outscored 15-14 over the first seven minutes out of the locker room, Seton Hall was able to cruise to their fifth consecutive win ahead of Saturday’s rivalry clash with Rutgers.
Kevin Willard took a page out of John Dunne’s book. I’m sure Willard, who made sure to mention how he was dreading taking on Saint Peter’s in several press conferences this season, hyped up to his players just how good Saint Peter’s teams are defensively.
Everyone chipped in. 11 different Pirates scored, including two walk-ons, in what was a balanced effort from the start although Desi Rodriguez (17p, 6r) set the tone early; seven different Pirates registered multiple assists on the night.
The game played out as expected. Seton Hall dominated the paint (46-22) and was nearly outscoring Saint Peter’s total points with just their interior points late in the second half. Further, the Pirates held the Peacocks — who play at the second-slowest tempo in the nation — scoreless on the break. The Peacocks rolled the three-point dice (8-29, 27%), but couldn’t butter their bread.