The Seton Hall men’s basketball team defeated the Troy Trojans 78-69 on Thursday night at the Prudential Center.
In the first meeting between the Pirates and the Trojans, the Blue and White got off to a hot start. SHU went on an 11-0 run over the course of the first three minutes to jump out to an early 11-2 lead at the first media timeout with 15:40 remaining in the half. The Hall’s run was highlighted by a Khadeen Carrington steal that led to a Desi Rodriguez slam on the other end.
From there, the Pirates struggled—just as they have all season coming out of the first media break. The Trojans went on a 25-8 run over the next 10 minutes, working the ball around to find the open looks.
“We have to keep up the momentum and continue playing defense,” Isaiah Whitehead said in regard to the early-half struggles. “We jump out on them defensively and get some open shots on the break, but we have to focus on running our sets all the way through.”
The Troy run came to an end after a block by Whitehead on a layup by John Walton III turned into an alley-oop layup on the other end with about six minutes to play in the half.
The Pirates strung together some baskets in the final five minutes, using a 10-0 run to end the half and take a 36-30 lead into the break.
Whitehead led SHU at halftime with 10 points, while Jordon Varnado led all scorers with 12 points.
Angel Delgado broke out in the second half for Seton Hall, scoring eight points in the first six minutes. He would finish with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“He’s back to doing what he does best,” Willard said. “He’s rebounding the ball terrific. He’s going outside his area.”
Whitehead’s shooting stroke went cold in the second half, starting 1-for-8 in the first 12 minutes of the half. His only bucket came on a drive to the basket that resulted in a three-point play the hard way. He would finish with 20 points on 6-of-20 shooting and seven assists.
“He’s been struggling shooting the ball,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “He gets a little bit gun-shy from [three-point range].”
The game became a battle of grit down the stretch, with two technical fouls being called in a span of two and a half minutes. One was called on Delgado after a double personal foul was issued to him and Jeremy Hollimon at the 7:36 mark of the second half. The second technical was issued to Walton after he fouled out with five minutes to go.
The Trojans cut the Seton Hall lead to nine with just over 90 seconds left, but the Pirates were able to hang on for the victory.
Ismael Sanogo totaled six rebounds in his return to the court after missing one game because of a dislocated shoulder he suffered against George Washington on Dec. 2.
The Pirates struggled from behind the arc, shooting 33 percent on 6-of-18 shooting, compared to 52 percent from the Trojans.
Rodriguez had 18 points while shooting 7-12 from the floor to go along with 11 rebounds.
Seton Hall will take the court against St. Peter’s on Sunday at the Prudential Center at 2:30 p.m.
Kevin Huebler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Hueblerkevin