Seton Hall edges Bradley 67-59 at Charleston Classic

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Seton Hall led from start to finish but were never able to build a comfortable lead in a 67-59 win over Bradley in the losers bracket of the Charleston Classic.

Desi Rodriguez led the Pirates in scoring with a career-high 18 plus 8 boards while Khadeen Carrington added 14, ten of which came in the second half as Isaiah Whitehead (5 pts, 2 asts) sat the final 20 minutes after taking a shoulder to the head while fighting a screen late in the first half.

Post-game, Kevin Willard told Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin on AM 970 that Whitehead suffered a minor concussion late in the Wagner game, that Isaiah will undergo concussion tests tonight and that he probably won’t play on Sunday in the 5th place game.

The Pirates sprang out to a 17-11 lead following two quick triples from freshman Veer Singh – the first points of his career – and never looked back despite not being able to put away an extremely young Bradley team and shooting just 14 of 26 from the line.

“We’re still not taking advantage of certain opportunities during the game, whether it be a fast break or a loose ball, we’re not rewarding ourselves sometimes,” Willard told Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin post-game on AM 970. “We have to do a better job of taking advantage of our opportunities and we have to concentrate on those opportunities.”

Willard was left to manage his team without Angel Delgado (7 pts, 9 rebs, 4 TOs) for the last ten minutes of the first half after the forward picked up two fouls and without Whitehead for the last 20 minutes.

Seton Hall’s lead fluctuated from ten to six points for nearly the entire second half, but the Braves were unable to spring a comeback while Khadeen Carrington and a banged up Derrick Gordon (9 pts) shouldered the point guard duties for the absent Whitehead.

Bradley cut their deficit to four with 6:28 to play and Seton Hall didn’t score a field goal for the final 5:12 of regulation but the Braves wouldn’t get closer than eight points until scoring on their final possession due to stout Pirate defense that held the Missouri Valley school to 39% from the field. Ismael Sanogo (6 pts, 6 rebs, 3 asts, 3 stls) was solid once again and did a ton of positive things besides score.

Seton Hall (3-1) is lucky to receive an RPI boost when they play Ole Miss (3-1) on Sunday after the Rebels were upset by George Mason in the opening round, moving the SEC school to the losers bracket.

Kevin Willard’s full statement on Isaiah Whitehead when asked if he’ll play Sunday:
“Probably not. He had a minor concussion after the Wagner game. It was a minor concussion, but it was a concussion so we had to go through the protocol. His first day playing was yesterday, that’s when he got cleared, so he didn’t practice Wednesday. Very light practice Wednesday for about 30 minutes … He got his bell rung pretty good, but when you’re coming off a concussion and you get your bell rung, you’ve got to go through the protocol. Our trainer and doctor said it was best to sit him for the half and to do the concussion tests after the game.”

  • Willard on Desi: “He’s doing everything that he needs to do to play well. He’s really playing simple, he’s not doing anything that’s out of the ordinary for Desi … I think he’s doing a good job of taking good shots … As long as he continues to do that, then he’ll play well.”

  • Willard on Veer Singh and playing through injury: “I said don’t come out in walk throughs and stretch if you’re not going to play. You’re the only one that can tell me right now if you can play. I said you’re a tough kid, we took an MRI, X-rays, there’s nothing broken, it’s a bone bruise, it hurts. But if it hurts so much where you can play, just tell me it’s not a big deal, I can get someone else in there. So he went through walkthrough and came out in warm ups and made 13 straight 3s and he looked at me said “I’m OK”.

  • Willard closing statement, I’m sure you guys will enjoy this: “Thats what im looking for from this team: little baby steps this year. We’re not trying to take giant strides, we’re going to have some disappointments, and I don’t want to say last night was a disappointment because Long Beach State is a good team. But we’re going to have some set backs, but the big thing is if we’re going to bounce back this year and become a little tougher. They showed me today they can bounce back quickly and without Isaiah in the second half I was proud of the way the guys played.”

    • ThePirateFan

      It’s like he’s looking forward to reading the comments section hahaha

      EDIT: Seriously though… “You can’t fire me if we only take baby steps this season. Baby steps were all we wanted anyway so technically we were successful. You can’t fire me if we were successful!”

      • fouline

        Even if he’s lowering expectations… This is college basketball not a limbo contest. I mean, how low can you go!?

  • Willard also said they stayed up until 1am watching film last night after loss. They didn’t play until 7 tonight so that makes sense. Also called the Long Beach State a very “mediocre” performance

  • LBP

    Enough excuses — The Hall is getting no better—another end of Game scoring drought

  • Andrew Herbst

    Nice win, but hopefully Whitehead isn’t out for too long. Hopefully he’s back by Georgia game.

  • Fishjam

    A win is a win but they shoud have put this team away and won by 20+. They were up between 8 and 11 the entire game and let many opportunities slip away to stick a fork in Bradley. Luckily Bradley wasn’t a good enough team to step up and take the game.
    Angel and Gordon were a brutal 3 for 12 from the line. Angel has had a very slow start to this season and looks uncomfortable playing against these smaller teams. I think he’ll find his comfort zone when they start playing better teams and he can bang with some guys his own size.
    Singh showed off his sweet stroke which will be a huge lift once he’s healthy. I love the effort from Ish and Desi. They both hustle and manage to make big contributions without being focal points. Desi has been their 2nd leading scorer which is amazing for how little they actually run plays for him. He finds ways to create for himself in transition and on the offensive glass. Ish is all over the place and knows his limitations offensively. Once he gets more experience and learns where he neeeds to be he is going to be a defensive force
    When this team plays hard and focused they are very fun to watch. They lack a true leader and need to develop some killer instinct to put lesser teams away and battle the teams that have more talent.

  • fouline

    We won, that’s good. The way we won, that’s no good. They may have stayed up till 1:00 watching tape of Long Beach but did Willard check to see if anybody was awake… because they played the same inconsistent, ragged, selfish game against Bradley as they did against Long Beach.

  • Hallbuster

    Willard is a disgrace. I am so disgusted by what has happened to this program. His lack of ability to not only control the locker room but also to actually be a decent X”s and O”s coach leaves this program with no hope but mediocrity. Be thinks this is Iona. And his buddy athletic director boss is even more of a disgrace for allowing this to happen. I am a serious donator to the seton hall program and at this point am more likely to not renew my support for next year. A message needs to be sent that we the donors won’t stand for this. Losing Gibbs and to a lesser extent sina should have been the nail in his seton hall coaching career coffin. If that wasn’t enough the joke of a loss last year to Marquette as he showed zero ability all year to put together or alter a game plan. Now we lose to long beach????? And he comments he wants this team to take baby steps ???? I am so outraged.

  • Hallbuster

    Foot in mouth. Just when I just about lost all hope.