St. John’s Notebook: Seton Hall back on the right track after three-game skid

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NEWARK — Seton Hall successfully rested up following a brutal three-game road trip and took care of business with an 86-73 win over St. John’s on Sunday afternoon.

Angel Delgado’s historic 20-20 game was the main theme post-game, but Seton Hall also displayed much-improved offense and Myles Powell (19 pts) broke out of a long scoring slump to provide a vital fourth scoring option for the Pirates.

Before touching on all of that and more, a few quick-hitters on Delgado’s big day:

  • First 20-20 game by a Seton Hall Pirate since Eddie Griffin (26 Points, 21 Rebounds) vs. Saint Peter’s on Nov. 27, 2000
  • First 20-20 game by a Seton Hall Pirate in a BIG EAST conference regular season game ever
  • First 20-20 game by any BIG EAST player since Jamine Peterson of Providence (29 Points, 20 Rebounds) vs. Rutgers on Jan. 9, 2010First 20-rebound game by a Seton Hall Pirate since Herb Pope vs. Syracuse on Jan. 8, 2011
  • Only the seventh Seton Hall Pirate student-athlete to grab 20 rebounds in a game; Walter Dukes grabbed 20 rebounds in a game on many occasions back in the 1950s, but the records indicate that only six student-athletes have ever accomplished the feat:
    – Walter Dukes
    – Nick Werkman
    – Glenn Mosley
    – Arnie Ring
    – Eddie Griffin
    – Herb Pope

Five thoughts:

Seton Hall fans can step back from the proverbial ledge. Although St. John’s isn’t a great nor good team, they have a ton of fight but the Pirates showed what they are capable of correcting with a few days of rest and practice. That said, I don’t think fans were too concerned about performances at home compared to the ability to prepare and play on the road, which is still a big question mark for a team which has just one win in true road games (Iowa).

The offense was so much better today. Strong guard play from Madison Jones and Khadeen Carrington set the tone early but everyone really chipped in via crisp ball movement that wreaked of a prolonged period of practice. Everyone who saw the floor by the half scored except for Rashed Anthony (< 1 minute) and five different Pirates had tallied an assist.

Khadeen Carrington had another off-game from the field, but his eight assists to just two turnovers was a blatant improvement compared to recent games. It will be interesting to see if Kevin Willard flirts with putting him back at point guard for extended periods if Jevon Thomas and Madison Jones aren’t producing — Khadeen will have to have a few more days like today distribution-wise to force that hand.

St. John’s weak front court was no match for Angel Delgado, who had a field day. The Red Storm were averaging 7 blocks per game coming in and registered just three today as even Desi Rodriguez posted up on his defender(s) a few times effectively. The Red Storm will have a real good back court in a year or two, they’re just missing a few key pieces up front.

The crowd today was very engaged despite having a few reasons not to be. The lower bowl was about 90-percent filled with mostly Seton Hall fans who chanted “Desi, Desi!” as he walked off the court injured (his elbow is fine), cheered loudly as he came back to the bench and in the game, and apparently the crowd even let Angel Delgado know that he had 19 rebounds when he was on the bench late (see quotes below). Also in the crowd was a slew of local 2018 recruits and 2017 commit Darnell Brodie (who has transferred back to Newark East Side and must sit out 30 days) who must have been very impressed.

Five quotes (plus two, in honor of Angel):

Kevin Willard on Angel Delgado: “I thought Angel did a good job of being patient, taking what the defense gave him and obviously defensive rebounding really helped us. He’s our workhorse. We actually gave him three days off after the Villanova game just because he’s been logging so many minutes. I think it really helped him.”

Mullin: “He looked like Moses Malone tonight to me.”

Willard on bouncing back: “I knew if we could just come back, practice a little bit, get into a good rhythm, and just being normal college kids that we would bounce back. I had no doubt about it whatsoever. We had the three best days of practice we’ve had all year and it showed in the first half.”

Willard on this being a must-win: “Right now, I think we have the same exact record we had last year and we’re in the same exact spot. The difference last year was we didn’t play as many road games. We’ve already played four road games and two of the hardest ones against Creighton and Villanova. We didn’t have any panic, it’s just a matter of winning your home games and at some point play better on the road.”

Myles Powell on Delgado’s game, jokingly: ““It’s the will to win that drives him to get all the rebounds. I’ve never met or played against anyone who can’t really dunk but can get 20 rebounds.”

Powell on what was going through his mind at end of Villanova game: “I was just trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I got back to school the next morning, I was shooting, we had a great practice, then I shot after practice. Then just throughout the days I was getting extra shots up until I found it … I’ve never been through anything like this [his shooting slump]. It was good that it happened now and I was able to fix it before it got out of hand.”

Angel Delgado on who told Willard he had 19 rebounds late in game, plus his thoughts on the accomplishment: “Me! I think somebody [in the crowd] — I don’t remember — said ‘Yo, you have 19 rebounds’ and I said ‘What!?’ and I turned to coach and said ‘What you doing!? Please, please put me in’ and he put me in … It feels great, that was my dream. As soon as I came to the school I said one day I have to get 20 and 20.”

Delgado on the attitude coming into this game: “We just came out with another mindset that we can’t lose this game no matter what. We cannot lose. That’s what I told the guys before we left the locker room, we cannot go 0-4. If you take care of the home games you’ll be in really good position at the end of the season … I just told the guys that we just lost three games on the road and now we have to bounce back. Just forget about those three games. Like now, forget about St. John’s, I don’t really care about St. John’s right now. I worry about Butler. That’s how we have to keep moving, we cannot get stuck. Teams need to move on, guys need to move on, like move on. Don’t worry about the last game, just play hard.”

  • Matty P

    I know this might be a little premature, but at what time does it start to become a discussion of Delgado entering NBA draft? I realize that he’s still got some aspects of his game to work on, but he’s started to show that he improved on the offensive end and he’s got a rebounding ability that not many guys have. I’m not sure if he will get in that discussion this year, but if he keeps playing this way people have to start taking notice.

    • PadrePirate

      Totally thinking the same thing. We already have depth issues at PF/C (Angel, Ish, Nzei and Rasheed). After the 2017-18 season 3 of those 4 graduate. That’s already scary enough, with no Bigs coming in the 2017 class. If Angel were to leave after this season, that would be even worse. Losing M.Carter was bad enough, not recruiting a PF for 2017 was worse.

    • I thought about this a few weeks ago. He’s not seriously ranked on any of the mock draft ranking sites — will have to see if that changes as the season goes on.

      I do think overseas is a serious threat this off-season at this rate.

      • WilponsStinkLessNow

        I heard from someone who knows someone close to the team that Angel has already decided to leave at the end of this year and either try for the NBA or play for the DR national team. Take it for what it’s worth. I hope it’s not true, but I’ve been preparing myself for the eventuality.

        • Matty P

          Certainly would leave a big hole in the team if he were to leave. I would hope that if he were going to leave that it would be because he could make an NBA roster instead of the DR national team. If he were able to make it to the NBA it would be a good recruiting tool for the coaching staff that it has the ability to help recruits both in the front and back court to make it to that level.

        • PadrePirate

          Not good. Who would replace him? Those are very big shoes for Nzei to fill.

          • Matty P

            I can’t imagine Nzei trying to fill the center position. In my opinion he’s too undersized for the position during BE play (6’8″ 205 lbs). If Delgado were to leave I would imagine they’d need to fill the position with a JUCO or graduate transfer.

        • Interesting but not surprising. I can’t confirm this but as you can see in my above reply, that sort of rumor has been present prior to end of last season.

      • SHU95

        Agree with Chris, will not go directly to NBA. If not SHU next year, Pro overseas, then hopefully a good shot at the NBA at some point. I think the TD recruitment and Angel leaving are mutually exclusive. One won’t be here without the other….We are either getting both or neither. Tricky spot for the coaching staff if I am correct in my assumption….

        Anyhow, Nice Win yesterday! Hope this is the start of a positive stretch…

        • PadrePirate

          Not sure I understand. You (or your source) mean that Angel would stay if we do get TD but is set on leaving if we don’t?

          • SHU95

            Yes…. (My opinion) with NO inside source or information, is that If the season ends & Angel announces he’s going Pro in some capacity, Duval will cross SHU off his list. Based on a few post game interviews where Angel has stated “if I stay here next season…” he is clearly at least considering other (Pro) options for next season. So then if Duval says to the staff, I want to come but I hear Delgado may be leaving, would that be enough to entice Angel back for his senior year? No one knows the answer at this point, but you can see how this will get tricky for the coaching staff if we are lucky enough to get to that point with Duval… bottom line: Both or Niether, and Both is a long shot but you never know…

          • Maybe I’m wrong, but the “if I’m here next season” quote came from a post-game interview after Rutgers when he was referring to wanting to beat them against next year. I don’t think he has said it again but I haven’t heard every word he has said.

            I’ve heard of Europe for Delgado as far back as the Gonzaga game, and I’m sure he has had offers prior to that. Europe will probably be more instant money/opportunity than a fringe chance at NBA.

  • LBP

    Great effort today-would anyone have the answer to this? Desi gets hurt when fouled with 2 FTs awarded. I assumed SHU gets to name his replacement. Why would J.Thomas have been chosen over Myles or Carrington? ( of course Thomas misses)

    • Matty P

      The opponent gets to select the FT shooter from any of the players that is currently on the floor. Based on the FT shooting percentages it would have made sense for Mullin to select either Thomas or Delgado.

      • LBP

        Actually Matty P I looked up the answer and in College BBall the Coach deems the substitute for the injured player and the substitute shoots-in this instance Coach chose JT to replace Desi-which I think was a dumb move with Soffer /Gordon being available.

        • Matty P

          Sorry my mistake. I must be thinking about the NBA rules instead of NCAA rules. Seems like an odd idea to have the coach and not the opponent select the FT shooter. For example why wouldn’t Willard towards the end of a game have someone like Delgado “fake an injury” to have a better FT shooter go to the line. Either way as you mentioned it was a bad choice by Willard to have Thomas shoot instead of a better FT shooter.

          • LBP

            Matty P- I watched on replay and announcers said that Mullin got to choose and chose Thomas??? JT was in the Game and not the substitute for Desi- now I am more confused ( BTW I am told that I am always confused).

        • Matty P

          Sorry to add more possible confusion, but from looking at the rules it looks like it depends on the type of foul. Below is the rule from the 2016-2017 NCAA rulebook that I found online (Rule 8, Section 3, Art 3):

          When an injured player is unable to attempt a free throw try(s), one of the four remaining players on the playing court shall be selected by the opposing coach to attempt the free throw try(s) unless the committed foul was flagrant or the injured player is bleeding or has blood on his uniform or person. In such a case, the injured player’s coach shall select any player or team member to attempt the free throw try(s).

          • LBP

            Thanks Matty P-

          • Matty P

            No problem LBP. I was actually looking on Google for the rule and noticed that it was changed by the rules committee within the past couple years, so that probably added onto the confusion.

  • Just updated the post with a great photo gallery from yesterday!

  • Matty P

    One nice thing to see yesterday was the alumni players who either haven’t been back or haven’t been back in a while. Always nice to get some of the guys to come back and cheer on the team and bring back some memories.

    Also on another note it’s good to see that Powell is friends with Duvall and has been talking to him often. Here’s an interesting quote from Powell that Carino posted in one of his articles: “I don’t want to base our relationship off that. I know there’s a lot of people in his ear. We talk a lot. We’re friends way past that. Sometimes I ask him if he’s coming to be m point guard and he laughs it off. I just worry about what I’m doing over here and let him finish his high school career on a good note. After all his accolades and high school season is done we can move forward in into that. Coach (Willard) lets his guards go—I feel like he’ll fit in perfect here. I tell him that all the time. I just hope the job gets done.”

    • PadrePirate

      Nice quote. We need a PG in a bad way. Can’t see this team remain a bubble level / 5th in BE without a top PG. But it just doesn’t sound realistic that a kid choose SHU over Duke, etc.

      • Joe J

        If Duval does choose SHU with this group of Juniors coming back and MP and MC you can argue that they would be a better team than Duke next year. SHU would be a top 10 team. They should stress to him that winning at Seton Hall would be really special. Winning at Duke is just a footnote with their great history. More people would take notice winning in the New York-New Jersey market.

        • SHU95

          Nice point about winnng here!

    • – I tweeted a few things out from Hazell’s halftime interview with Dave Popkin yesterday. Said it was his first time back to a game since going overseas due to bad timing with bball breaks. Also immediately mentioned his breakout game against Lville as a freshman as the “best game of my career” — also cited how many second half shots he made. Very enthusiastic.

      – As for Duval, it was Zagoria, Carino and I when Powell was asked about it. Didn’t really think it was noteworthy because I assumed it had been written about before —- fairly well-known they are close. As you said about, quote that stuck out was “Sometimes I text him to come be my point guard” but yeah, Powell made it clear he’s not pushing him too hard. Myles is a pretty good interview for not being halfway through his freshman year; well spoken and composed, polite, looks you in the eye.

      • Matty P

        I guess I don’t follow the recruiting or twitter as close, so I didn’t realize they were so close. But it’s nice to see that we have a player reaching out to a top recruit to try and work him over a little to think about SHU, but not being forceful. And from all of the quotes I’ve seen from Powell he seems like a good kid who would be a nice interview. I enjoyed his quote about Delgado after the game regarding his missed dunk.

  • PadrePirate

    Things couldn’t have worked out better for Isaiah W this year. With Lin perpetually injured, IW’s been consistently getting 25-30 min/night vs. NBA competition. Just what he needed to take his game to the next level. Brooklyn sure stinks right now, but on another team he would likely not be getting these minutes. Whether Lin comes back or not, it’s been a win for IW.