NEWARK, N.J. — No. 23 Seton Hall rode a first half barrage of outside shots to a 75-70 win over a short-handed St. John’s team.
Playing without leading scorer Shamorie Ponds (20.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.8 apg) and fellow guard Marcus LoVett (14.9 ppg), St. John’s battled hard and proved to be a tough out for Seton Hall.
A proverbial game of runs broke out after the Hall poured in perimeter shots in the first half before a familiar New York-New Jersey slug-fest ensued in the second half.
Seton Hall improved to 13-2 (2-0) when the dust settled on their final game in 2017; the Pirates closed the year on a ten-game winning streak at Prudential Center since their 92-70 loss to Villanova in February.
Seton Hall was aided by ten assists from their forwards. It’s becoming routine for the Hall to find assists from everyone in their starting five, but a total of ten from Angel Delgado (12p, 12r, 6a) and Ish Sanogo (4a, 2r) alone was rare to see. Sanogo’s pair of dishes to Delgado in the paint and then across court to Myles Powell in the second half helped get a big second half run going; the team assisted on 19 of 24 made field goals.
What a strange box score. Eight guys scored all but two of the points in tonight’s game and there were a grand total of zero total points from bench players. As a result, it’s not all that surprising that Justin Simon and Angel Delgado were two rebounds and four assists away, respectively, from triple-doubles.
Delgado continued his offensive rebounding rampage tonight. He was seventh in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage coming into the game with 5.3 over his last seven games. Tonight, he picked up eight on the St. John’s glass including an all-important put-back late in the second half; as I write this, Angel has moved up into sixth in OReb%.
Kevin Willard wouldn’t say it, but his team may have lost this one if it wasn’t for their hot outside hand. After shooting at a stellar 10-18 clip from deep in the first half, Seton Hall shot 3-11 from the perimeter in the second and scored just 20 points until late on. The Pirates looked fairly stagnant in the first when they weren’t lights out from deep; Chris Mullin was resigned to tipping his cap after saying his guys played good defense in the first half.
Myles Powell has now made 4+ threes in six games this season; Delgado has dished 4+ assists in five games.
Kevin Willard on if the result would have been different if not for hot shooting: “We got hot from behind the arc early, and whenever that happens, you always get a little worried about “Does that carry over?” but again, they did a good job protecting their length. When you have [Tariq] Owens down there, and [Kassoum] Yakwe is in there, they’re just long and athletic and I thought they did a good protecting [the paint].”
Willard if concerned about recent stretch of trash talking and technicals: “No. I think that’s all between players and players. As long as they’re respectful to the referees and everything else, I’m OK [with it]. We’ve played four straight local teams [actually 5 of last 6]. All these guys play against each other all summer long, they all know each other and they all talk trash to each other. From what I’ve heard, it just good old-fashioned trash talk and my guys have not said anything disrespectful to anybody, the fans the refs. As long as they’re going at it with the [other] guys and it’s good clean competition, I think the refs are doing a good job of calling it when they have to call it and [also] letting stuff go. Especially when you play local teams which we do, there’s always just a different edge, there is, they just know each other, they battle with each other.”
Willard if happy about team winning in a different way than they have been: “Khadeen [Carrington] has the flu, Myles Cale sprained his ankle yesterday in practice. Angel had the flu the last couple days, Desi [Rodriguez] is just getting over it. I like the fact that the guys battled through practice yesterday and kind of battled through today. There’s a bug going around this world and I think this week might help us a little bit with getting us healthy again.”
On playing against a team with two injured key players: “I think they biggest thing I was worried about when we wound out Shamorie [Pond] wasn’t playing, I thought it’s human nature to relax a little bit and it’s also human nature for the other team to say ‘OK, now it’s my chance to step up and play a little.’ Defensively, they’re so much longer at all the positions. I thought they did a really good job defensively, I think they did a good job of getting in all the passing lanes.”
Chris Mullin on his team’s defensive approach in the second half: “I mean they made deep threes so it’s really not bad defense. Sometimes you have to give credit. They made 16 threes and I wasn’t all that concerned, they made some deep shots, some of them were open but they were deep … With the that lineup that we used, we felt good running them off the three-point line and make them finish over length. You have to give credit when they make shots.”