Seton Hall grinds out 66-49 win over USF to finish non-conference 10-2

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Seton Hall assisted on 21 of 26 made field goals en route to a 66-49 win over USF in front of roughly 1,000 at Prudential Center.

If you were in for an exhilarating game, you were disappointed early and often. USF failed to score until just inside the 10 minute mark, allowing Seton Hall to build a decent but not strangling 14-0 lead before the Bulls got on the scoreboard.

The Hall never truly looked back.

Angel Delgado (14 pts, 11 rebs) featured early on in the game and then came on strong in the second half on way to his fifth-straight double-double while Veer Singh (12 pts, 4-6 3pt) played an important role when he drilled back-to-back threes to inject life into a Seton Hall offense that let USF outscore it 14-12 since the visitors’ first basket.

USF missed an opportunity when they were down 10 and went just 1-of-4 from the line prior to giving up an offensive rebound on a free throw that resulted in a four-point play when Isaiah Whitehead (6 pts, 10 asts) sank a three. Whitehead also racked up six first half assists and no turnovers; Seton Hall assisted on 12 of 13 first half buckets.

The Bulls wouldn’t get even this close again.

After holding USF to a 33-19 lead at the half, Seton Hall’s authority wasn’t threatened for most of the second half.

Isaiah Whitehead matched his career high in assists when he found Singh open on the wing twice in a row with the freshman hitting the second attempt. Whitehead then broke his assist record with his ninth dime that found Singh again for his fourth three-pointer of the game to gave the hosts an 43-27 advantage.

The Hall’s lead fluctuated between 13 and 19 through the under-four media timeout. Derrick Gordon (8 pts, 4 rebs, 3 asts) provided a nice spark late in the second half to help Seton Hall maintain a 12+ point cushion until pulling away over the final minutes. Gonzaga transfer Angel Nunez led USF with 19 pts and 8 rebounds.

Seton Hall improves to 10-2, matching the same non-conference record they held a year ago. The Pirates begin conference play on the road at Marquette on December 30th.

  • Andrew Herbst

    Nice win tonight. Love seeing Singh have a break out game. We need him to continue to shoot like that in BE play. He can be a valuable member off the bench. I was pleased to see Whitehead have 10 assists. It’s important that he is a facilitator as well as scorer. We will need to balance scoring and assisting more in BE games depending on opponent. Looking forward to Marquette game next Wed. Will be a great test for us to start off conference play. GO PIRATES.

    • PadrePirate

      Yes, the 10 A’s by IW is the best stat of this game. Also the 21 overall A’s means effective ball movement, though, again, our offense still seems impotent for important stretches against a zone.

      • Andrew Herbst

        Definitely. We can’t afford to have bad stretches offensively in a zone in BE play.

  • PadrePirate

    A few keys tonight even if the final victory wasn’t overly impressive against struggling USF team.

    Our starting guards learned that we can win even when they have a poor shooting night (IW and KC combined 5 for 20 = 25%). We can win games by lock down defense and good passing.

    It should take pressure off IW to discover lately that it’s not necessary for him to take 20 shots a game. Angel can be very efficient in the post (7 for 9) against a less athletic defender. Feeding the post will be a key element to our success most nights.

    Also loved seeing a lot of dishes for corner and wing jumpers rather than the standard weave and drive we were seeing almost exclusively until a couple of games ago.

    We’re not the strongest offensive team, but improvements such as these will be important in a competitive BE.

  • Fishjam

    This was such a strange game. They started with good defensive intensity and effort but they shot very poorly. Desi played his worst game of the season and Carrington struggled a lot also. It was like Desi was just not mentally into the game. He badly missed some open shots early and it seemed his concentration and effort waned for the rest of the game. Dino started well hitting a 3 and making a nice steal in the backcourt for an easy layup. But as the game progressed he took some ill-advised shots as they were a combined 5 out of 17.
    Whitehead shot poorly also but was the offensive catalyst with his passing and setting up of teammates. He easily could have had 12-14 assists if players finished a few more of his passes. He had some really crisp, accurate passes that set up teammates perfectly and the offense had good flow for much of the game despite the poor team shooting. Z’s passing is light years better than anyone else on the team.
    – Angel was strong offensively and continues to improve and get more involved offensively as the season progresses.
    – Nzei continues to find ways to score on offensive rebounds and high percentage shots in the paint. 9 pts and 5 boards in 17 minutes is excellent production for a guy who is not featured in the offense whatsoever.
    – DG again provided a big spark defensively and offensively. His 8 points included a couple of tough running shots when the offense was sputtering.
    – Singh had a career day and he gets a lot of credit for setting up in thre right spots and drilling 4 big 3’s. His performance was huge with Desi & Dino struggling. Credit IW for setting Veer up perfectly for the treys
    – Was a little concerned with the interior defense tonight as South Florida was able to stick around because of their 16 offensive rebounds and the play of their forwards Nunez and Santos. They had their hands full with GW’s big, versatile lineup as Cavanaugh and Watanabe gave us problems. Ellenson from Marquette is the real deal and one of the best Freshmen in the nation. Ish is going to have his hands full trying to defend his versatility and size

  • Fishjam

    SF was able to stick around because of their 16 offensive rebounds and the play of their two 6’8″ forwards. They were able to get to the rim quite a bit and also got to the line with Ange fouling out. Pirates have had some problems with bigger teams which has me concerned with Marquette’s strong frontcourt coming up next.

    GW’s big, versatile lineup gave us problems as Cavanaugh and Watanabe were very effective. Ellenson from Marquette is the real deal and one of the best Freshmen in the nation. Ish is going to have his hands full trying to defend his versatility and size while Angel bangs with Fischer down low.

  • VinBick

    The Seton Hall Athletic Department played host to Vets from the East Orange VA Hospital. Thanks for stepping up for fine men who served us well!

    • ThePirateFan

      Great to see!

    • Fishjam

      Love it…..way to go Z!

  • fouline

    I can’t get excited about this win. It’ just shows us the power a feel good schedule. And of our appetite for cupcakes. But a thousand people at the game?! Not all of the fans are fooled all of the time.

    • VinBick

      Triple that number, at least. All major schools feast on some cupcakes this time of year, and South Florida has some studs. Their best scorer with 15 pts per game was held to two points by the Pirates. The tough “D” was beautiful to behold as well as the sharp, unselfish passing by IW.

      • iratepirate

        Not all schools feast on cupcakes like we do.

        Out of the top 50 teams on kenpom, only seven have softer OOCs. 7 of the 12 teams we’ve played were 200+ teams (kenpom). That’s more than half cupcakes. It is one reason why even though we are in a “position” to make the tournament, everything has to go right for us to do so. We’ve got little really to hang our hat on, and the committee will look at OOC SOS. I’m not even sure a 9-9 record will get us in if we lose to the softer side of the BE and can’t get wins against the ranked teams.

        We need a stronger schedule in the future. Willard has always pursued weak schedules even though I think a few times he’s said he wished they were a tid bit harder. He pads his record this way. There are many teams in our area that walk the line between decent wins and good wins that would seriously help our resume if we scheduled regularly. I know it’s been proposed, but doing a Garden state style tourney that maxes at three games would be fine, with maybe one other cupcake in the schedule.

        Some teams not far from us are perennially good, and would improve our OOC considerably. Iona, Stony Brook, Temple. Throw in two A10 teams. pick from GW, Richmond, Davidson, Dayton, Umass. These are almost always 75-150 teams which if they overachieve can turn out to be good wins, and won’t be season killing losses like FDU or St. Peters often would be. It’s fine to go outside the area like we did with Mercer as well. The excuse is always that great teams don’t want to play us (Uconn, Syracuse, etc.) That’s fine. We can play the middle, have a hard schedule, and get to the tourney without them.

        • fouline

          Vi… Irate
          my problem with a soft OCS is that it really doesn’t get the team anywhere and it doesn’t build any toughness. And actually can leave the team with a sense of entitlement. Bad. Real bad. I admire a program like Monmouth. They are all in – for the team and the fans. Just look what they’ve done. And if they can keep the wining going, they will go dancing before we do. I’ve always thought our team had talent. Maybe I have a higher opinion of the talent than Willard & Company. Or maybe he just doesn’t know what to do with them. It’s confusing… whatever it is, it’s arguable from both sides. But I think we could have done better and gained more with a tougher schedule. Merry Christmas.

          • iratepirate

            I agree that a soft OCS doesn’t prepare your team and make it better. However, there are a lot of considerations to making a schedule, not least of which is that the other team has to want to play us. UCLA, Kentucky and Louisville may not see any upside to playing us. Additionally, travelling to play hard teams can get expensive. I was trying to outline that you can slice down the middle quite easily to improve our OCS without extra travel costs or other considerations.

          • fouline

            Irate,
            you’re right. Money is a big part of the equation. We could do better but …The problem with college Bball is that you not only have to win, you have to win against a team with a high rating. The other problem for schools like SHU is that they don’t have to make money off of fannies in the seats. The game changed when media became the primary source of income. We can schedule any team we want and we still get our share of the BE media money. So Willard can cupcake the schedule, ensure wins for his record and get clobbered in the BE and end up with a so-so record. The argument is that a lot of schools do it… But we’re not a lot of schools. We haven’t won anything in years… years. So we have to shake it up and do something bold and take our shot. But that requires smarts and guts… Something that seems to be sorely lacking now.

  • LBP

    Team is getting better and that is important-learning that the D can be outstanding and now can easily beat poor Teams. Big East starts now and Team should be better than .500 in Conference Play-key to Season will be splitting with the 4 Big Boys.

  • Jersey Jerry

    Pirate Nation ~

  • hallstorm

    Any preview on tonight’s Marquette game? Their inside presence should be a lot for our big men to handle. This Ellard kid needs to be pushed off the blocks a little.

    • Fishjam

      Fischer is the big 6’11, 250 pund Center that will be a huge test for Angel He is their 2nd leading scorer and rebounder at 14.5 & 8.3. Their best player is the Freshman Ellenson, 6’10” forward in the McDermott-bold, plays inside and out averaging 17ppg & 10 boards. He’s the real deal. Going to be a tough chore for Ish and others to contain him. This is a very tough Marquette team.

      • hallstorm

        Ha! I mis-typed Ellenson as Ellard and I’m familiar with Fischer. Those two guys I kinda knew about, but I know nothing about their guard play (which is usually very good historically).

        I appreciate the insight Fishjam, but I was sort of hoping for an official McManus preview, matchup preview and “things to look for”. That’s was I was alluding to, but thank you for the response.

        • Fishjam

          I hear ya Hallstorm….I checked in a few times since yesterday hoping for the same thing from Chris. I remember Duane Wilson from last year….he’s back as a solid PG and they have another talented freshman in Cheatem. They are a well-rounded team with an efficient offense….very tough game.

          • hallstorm

            I think you’re right Fishjam and I’m figuring this is not an ideal matchup for us given their vaunted front court. I remember Wilson too. I don’t know anything about this Cheatem guy.

            I’m just hoping the Hall doesn’t get frustrated with Marquette’s defense. I have a feeling we will be playing from behind for much of the game. Let’s hope for patience.

      • hallstorm

        Carrington is very difficult to watch. The unforced turnovers and crazy off-balanced shots in the lane have to stop. He is brutal

        • Fishjam

          I was shocked to see how good Dino’s final line was because it really seemed like it was one of his worst games. Shows you how deceiving stats can be at times bc 17 pts, 10 Rebs and 5 assists is a monster stat line. He did do a lot of good things as evidenced by the above #s but his unforced turnovers, dribbling into traffic and taking bad shots early in shot clock are still far too frequent.

  • Fishjam

    CBSsports.com predicted their field of 64 and currently have 5 Big East Teams getting in. Everyone knows the Big 4 (Xavier, Nova, Butler & Providence) but #5 is Seton Hall. Appreciate the confidence but it won’t be easy. Even outside the 4 big boys, Marquette, G’Town & Creighton will be fighting hard for that last at-large bid and even the Johnnies and DePaul will be battles. Every single BE game will be difficult and every victory well-earned. Grabbing a W on the road against a quality opponent would be a great start.

  • PadrePirate

    Chris, nice win tonight vs. MU. Hope you are ok, just visiting distant relies or something. Dying for some BE conversation and chatter about tonight’s opener…