The men’s basketball team, playing in South Orange for a change, beat Wagner 69-59 on Sunday afternoon to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
The matchup took place in Walsh Gymnasium; the Hall’s lone home game on campus each year.
The Pirates never trailed in the contest, yet allowed Wagner to make it as little as a nine-point game in the closing minutes. Ultimately however, the Seahawks were bested by a plethora of significant Seton Hall sophomore contributions.
Isaiah Whitehead led all scorers with 18 points on 5-15 shooting from the field while graduate guard Derrick Gordon added the only 11 points off of the Pirates bench. Ismael Sanogo made himself known at the rim, pulling in 11 rebounds.
“Ish is really aggressive,” Angel Delgado, who recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, said of his teammate. “I really appreciate him helping me out.”
Sanogo also served up two rejections.
“He is going to try and become the best defender in the Big East,” head coach Kevin Willard said of Sanogo, who had three blocks in the season opener.
Desi Rodriguez added eight boards of his own as well as 15 points, including two buckets from downtown. He hit just one three-pointer in his rookie season.
At one point, it looked as if Delgado was seriously injured when he hit the floor following a post move early in the second half. The Dominican big-man grabbed his right knee and had to be helped off the court, yet returned shorty after to much surprise.
“My knee hurt a lot, but the doctors took care of me; they made sure I was good and I got right back in the game,” Delgado said.
Whitehead also went down towards the end of the game after catching an elbow that left him with a cut below his eye. Willard said his point guard should be fine.
As a unit, the Pirates showed much improvement from the free throw line on Sunday. After hitting 22 of 43 takes (51.2 percent) in the team’s opener against Dartmouth, the Blue and White found consistency at the charity stripe by going 24-28 (85.7 percent).
“I am a great coach,” Willard jokingly said of the turnaround.
The Hall did struggle with ball protection yet again, surrendering 23 turnovers to the Seahawks. SHU now has 43 giveaways in the first two games.
“They turned up their pressure against us,” Willard said. “We got a little casual with the basketball. Our turnovers really hurt us in the two games.”
The Pirates will have a few days to work on running a tighter ship before they head to South Carolina for the Gildan Charleston Classic. First on the docket is Long Beach State on Thursday, Nov. 19. The game is set to start at 7 p.m.
Gary Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GPhillips2727.