Long Beach State staves off late Seton Hall rally to win 80-77 at Charleston Classic

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After trailing by 16 points with 10:38 to play, Seton Hall cut their deficit to just a point with 10 seconds remaining, but a Long Beach State offensive rebound off a missed front-end free throw sealed the deal for the 49ers in an 80-77 first round win at the Charleston Classic.

Looking done and dusted down 16 midway through the second half, Seton Hall received a big spark from Mike Nzei who scored six quick points off the bench to catalyze a 7-0 Seton Hall run that initiated a comeback that would fall just short.

The game began in a pleasing, free-flowing, energetic fashion that saw Seton Hall as the initiator. Leading by a bucket at the first media timeout, Kevin Willard inserted Myles Carter, who hadn’t seen a minute this season, and Mike Nzei for Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez, which iced the Pirates’ momentum a bit.

The Beach was able to drive and dish on Seton Hall’s zone early on, leading to a handful of high percentage shots around the rim that jump-started a 49ers offense that started firing on all cylinders. Long Beach State hit 13 of their first 18 shots while a pulsating Nick Faust (16 pts) hit several three-pointers early.

Seton Hall played even with the Big West school until Long Beach State closed the first half on an 11-3 run that featured three Pirate turnovers after the Hall had coughed it up just four times in the opening 16 minutes.

Seton Hall wouldn’t see the lead again.

The Beach rode their momentum into the second period by completely controlling the first ten minutes, subsequently building a 16-point advantage, their biggest of the night.

Down 11 with 12 to play and coming out of a called timeout, Isaiah Whitehead turned the ball over and then Long Beach State drilled an open three to top off their commanding start to the second half.

The Hall would claw their way back into the game by way of Nzei’s six-point outburst, Isaiah Whitehead’s 21 points, an impressive second half from Khadeen Carrington (15 pts) and surprisingly without Angel Delgado for at least the last eight-plus minutes of the game. Willard explained Delgado being relegated to the bench as a way to deal with the 49ers’ size, which is a legitimate move that did work, although the reasoning for not inserting Delgado back into the game late on is questionable.

Trailing 76-72 with 58 seconds to play and the Hall with fouls to give, Kevin Willard opted for Seton Hall to not foul, resulting in a missed Long Beach State three. Desi Rodriguez then called his team’s final timeout the first possession out of a lengthy stoppage to clean up Travis Hammonds’ blood off the court, which was followed by a big-time Carrington three to get his team within one for the first time since the first half.

After fouling Hammonds intentionally, the big man missed the front end of his free throws but wasn’t blocked out by Derrick Gordon or Rodriguez, a sequence with painfully ended in an offensive rebound and two made free throws prior to Carrington missing a game-tying three as time expired.

Seton Hall’s first loss of the season is a bitter pill to swallow as it directs them to the Charleston Classic losers bracket, which will only hurt their RPI, though Ole Miss did get upset by George Mason earlier on Thursday.

The Pirates play again tomorrow night await the loser of Bradley and No. 6 Virginia.

  • Andrew Herbst

    Tough loss tonight, but we made a valiant effort in 2nd 1/2. There are several positives to take out of this game. Sonogo, Desi, Whitehead and Nzei all played well. I love that we have so much more depth in front court this year. One glaring aspect from tonight’s game is we have to improve our d going forward. We can’t keep getting destroyed on the boards and allow so many easy buckets in the paint. That will really hurt us in BE play. Hopefully we can tighten up our d tomorrow night against Bradley/Virginia. We have a long way to go, so we can’t get one loss early in the season get us down. Go Pirates.

  • LBP

    Chris-thanks for your work-kinda hard for anyone to be positive-Team is too soft and the Coaching??-too disgusted to go over it again- I never contend you learn by losing except how to lose- these Guys have to show more pride-SHU had the better athletes but not the bigger hearts

  • Just added Willard’s quote re: Delgado courtesy of WSOU

  • ThePirateFan

    Not a lot to say after a game like that. KW can’t coach. Not fouling at the 1-minute mark is a bad decision. What was the offensive set they ran the seemingly the entire game. Three person weave off the right wing? You just dropped the shot clock to 20 without a hint of creating an opportunity to score. lol then pick and roll with an offensively limited big?? No wonder IW was hassled when handling the rock, there’s nobody to help him and the shot clock is in the low teens to high single digits. At least KW made the adjustment to put the ball in Gordon’s hands rather than IW’s. Can’t hassle Gordon when IW is looming on the wing. Nzei is a step slow defensively, too. Maybe it’ll get better, but he was over-matched athletically. It’s KW’s fault he was out there anyway.

    Carrington is still one-dimensional offensively – drives left, but if that’s locked down it’s spin right, pick up the dribble. Was happy to see him knock down the three in the final seconds, though.

    I hope Angel is healthy…

    Whitehead is to SHU what Carmelo or Marbury are/were for the Knicks. Can score, yes, but doesn’t contribute in other ways and take too many shots for the team to succeed. Some of his shots are such bad decisions they might as well be turnovers. Might as well give Whitehead 6 turnovers tonight rather than 4.

    And with all that said, the game came down to the final seconds when Long Beach St flat out couldn’t miss in the first half. I didn’t think the D was particularly bad, either. LBSU was hot.

  • LBP

    Chris — I do not understand the Willard quote- ” to deal with LBS size”????? Are you kidding me????

    • ThePirateFan

      Apparently there isn’t going to be a reason to feed the post at any point this season.

      • LBP

        Thanks ThePirateFan- it is the best explanation ( shakes his head)

    • There is a shred of validity. Hall made their run with smaller Nzei + Ish. Delgado was being held in check by Roschon Prince very well. I think he should have came back in though.

  • Ish with his third double digit rebounding game in four if you count the exhibition. Also had 7 points. Was much better in first half http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/boxscore?gameId=400826224

  • Matty P

    Disappointing loss last night since they miss a golden opportunity to make their OOC schedule look more impressive. Really wish this team had a true PG so that Whitehead could play off the ball more often and a couple guys with an outside shooting presence to open up room in the middle for drives to the basket (I know Singh is supposed to be this, but we haven’t seen it yet bc of the wrist injury). It was nice to see Delgado trying to take a couple shots earlier in the game, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to make a handful of them. Between that and the mismatch he had on the defensive end I completely understand Willard taking him out for a larger portion of the second half. It’s a tough ask to have him guard a smaller player who was showing he could hit the 3.

  • Marklemore84

    I’ve been an apologist for Willard for a long time but his rotation choices cost us the game last night which is unacceptable.

  • fouline

    Very disappointing game. We have a talented, unfocused, inconsistent team… with an incompetent coach.