NEWARK - There was plenty to talk about after No. 22 Seton Hall’s 84-68 win over Indiana in the Gavitt Games.
Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery were in the house for Fox Sports. Indiana. Dozen NBA scouts. Big win.
One of the busier non-conference media-attended games since perhaps Wichita State a couple seasons back resulted in plenty of story lines from the Hall’s convincing third win of the year and their second consecutive in the Gavitt Games.
Angel Delgado was Seton Hall’s “safety blanket” while fellow seniors Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington both had their most efficient offensive nights yet. All that and more, below.
Carrington snapped an offensive funk. He was 0-9 from deep coming into this one with just 22 points, which can probably be chalked up to adjusting to point guard and a little bad luck. 17 points on seven shots to go along with five assists is more of what we’re used to. Carrington was also up against the most seasoned lead guard he’s faced this year in Josh Newkirk.
It’s assists by committee. Pirates not named Khadeen have dished three or more assists on seven occasions so far. Inside-out passing through Angel Delgado was a primary theme of the game while Myles Powell earned recognition from Kevin Willard for his four-assist night. Case-in-point.
Seton Hall received very little from the ‘4’ but Delgado overpowered. Mike Nzei (0p, 1r) got in foul trouble and had an off-night while Ish Sanogo (4p, 5r) was solid but not great off the bench for a combined 39 minutes. The other seniors took care of business and put Indiana big De’Ron Davis in foul trouble, taking away some depth from the Hoosier front court. Perhaps lack of production at power forward was affected by them not doubling on Delgado, regardless, it didn’t hurt the hosts tonight.
Jordan Walker should be back from a sprained thumb soon. I’ll let Willard do the talking: “Jordan is going to be out, if we keep winning, forever [laughs]. Hopefully we’ll have him back for Saturday, it’s still pretty swollen. It’s more of a day-by-day. Maybe Saturday, but definitely he’ll be back by Thursday.”
I criticized it pregame, but the crowd turned out well tonight. They were definitely late-arriving for the 6:30 tip, but the 1,000+ students were perhaps the best they’ve ever been while Indiana had a strong contingent in the section behind their bench. In all, I’d say about 7,700 of the 8,452 paid fans showed up. Willard made a great comment on the students while Desi Rodriguez also said they were probably the most engaged he’s ever seen. Chants of “Hoosier Daddy!?” and N-I-T were heard and the whole section was bouncing toward the end of the game.
Willard on his substitution pattern and what went wrong in first half: “Our bench has to learn how to play with a lead. And that’s only going to happen by them playing with it … They have to learn how, when you’re up 8 or 9 against good basketball teams, that’s not the time to go one-on-one or take a bad shot, and the only way you do it is by playing through it and having confidence.”
On the crowd/atmosphere: “Our students, they’re awesome. I can’t say enough. That’s three games in a row that we’ve sold it out. We talked about it at the under-12 in the second half. Our timeouts should be comedy TV. Instead of talking about the game, the guys were talking about let’s continue to get the student section pumped up. Let’s get the students in it. They understand the sacrifice our students make to get down to this building. The fact that our students are doing it at a record pace right now, the kids really really appreciate it.”
Angel Delgado when asked if Willard preaches feeding the post: “Yeah. Every time he sees my face, he says [to the team] you gotta throw the ball inside. They know the type of player I am, if the ball goes inside, it’s coming [back] out. 80-percent of the time its coming out, but if I know there’s somebody I can score on, I’m going to take it.”
On if he knew about the 12+ NBA scouts in attendance: “No, not at all. I just came to play basketball. I just came to have fun. By now you guys now I have fun every game. I just came here to have fun, I don’t really pay attention to that. It’s good that they came here, it shows that we’re working a lot and the guys really deserve that, everybody here really deserves that.”
Desi when I joked if Myles Cale is giving him some highlight reel competition: “He’s taking my spotlight, but I’m going to get that back. In the second half I was trying to get me one. He’s very athletic, that’s what people say, I wouldn’t say he’s more athletic than me yet [laughs], but he can jump.”
Double Bonus (it was a lively post-game media frenzy):
Willard on Desi: “I think Desi is an elite player by far. I think he’s one of the best players in college basketball and I’ll just leave it at that.”
Khadeen Carrington on getting his shot back: “It felt good. We were talking about it at practice and they asked me if I was worried about. I was 0-9? I said I’ll be worried when I’m 0-30. My shot felt good tonight.”