The “Let’s go Pirates” chants were loud in Piscataway on Saturday afternoon as the Seton Hall men’s basketball beat Rutgers 84-55 in the Garden State Hardwood Classic.
Angel Delgado helped lead the way for the Pirates as he recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds, as well as two blocks. Adding to that, he was named the MVP of the annual contest.
“I thought Angel was the difference maker in the whole game just for the fact that early on in the game he kind of settled us down,” head coach Kevin Willard said. :He made really good moves and got easy buckets for us back on offense.”
Redshirt freshman Michael Nzei also recorded a double-double, his first of the season, with 13 points and 12 boards.
“I thought Mike (Nzei) played just phenomenal,” Willard said. “I thought he was active on defense, he was stepping up, obviously getting on the offensive glass really helped.”
Although he did not start, Khadeen Carrington led the team in scoring with 18 points. Isaiah Whitehead scored in double digits as well with 13.
Ismael Sanogo did not see action for the Pirates as he is battling a shoulder injury that occurred in the Hall’s loss to George Washington. Willard said he will not play on Thursday when SHU takes on Troy.
Despite the blowout, Rutgers was first to score on Saturday and kept the lead for the majority of the first half.
“Once we got the flow going a little bit defensively I thought we settled down and were able to get in a good offensive rhythm which I think changed the game,” Willard said.
As Carrington and Desi Rodriguez entered the game, they helped edge the Rutgers lead, eventually helping the Pirates get in front. Carrington came out of the first half leading the team in scoring with 11 points. Nzei also put up impressive numbers with eight points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
Leading the Scarlet Knights in points was Carrington’s high school teammate Mike Williams. He had 11 points in the first half and spent the majority of the game guarding his fellow Bishop Loughlin alum.
As the second half started, the Pirates kept their lead to double digits, finishing with a 29 point margin over the Scarlett Knights.
Pirates seeing action off the bench for the first time this season included freshman Dalton Soffer, who had six points and two rebounds, and freshman Myles Carter.
The Pirates will be back in action as they open a four game home series this Thursday against Troy. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill.