Second half defense propels Pirates to victory in Big East opener

Seton Hall Athletics

Seton Hall Athletics


The Seton Hall men’s basketball team opened up Big East play Wednesday night in Milwaukee, Wis., with an 83-63 victory over Marquette.

The Pirates put a halt to the Golden Eagles’ nine-game winning streak in the process while extending their own winning streak to six games.

Seton Hall entered intermission trailing 40-39 after an early double-digit lead was erased. In the second half, a different team took the floor for the Blue and White—it looked more like the same squad that stifled South Florida last week. The Pirates held the Golden Eagles to 23 second-half points on 26-percent shooting, turning a one-point deficit into a 20-point victory.

Any team that hopes to defeat Marquette has to contain the imposing front court duo of Henry Ellenson and Luke Fischer, and the Pirates did just that. Ellenson, a potential first-round pick in the upcoming NBA draft, struggled from the field all night. The freshman phenom finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds while shooting a paltry 3-14 from the floor. Fischer added 12 points and nine rebounds for Marquette. The Golden Eagles were led by Haanif Cheatham’s 17 points.

Aside from a strong defensive effort in the second half, the key to the Pirates’ blowout victory was ball movement and balanced scoring. The Pirates recorded 17 assists on 27 field goals, which included a variety of interior passes that led to high-percentage shots for the Hall. Isaiah Whitehead continued to embrace his role as a point guard, and led the team with seven assists in addition to his 16 points.

The Pirates started their usual starting five of Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez, Ismael Sanogo and Angel Delgado. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Rodriguez, who set a new career-high with 19 points. Carrington filled the stat sheet for Seton Hall with 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Delgado tacked on another double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Seton Hall was also dominant on the glass with a 49-32 rebounding advantage.
One negative in the Pirates’ performance was ball security. The Hall committed 20 turnovers on the night, including their first on the game’s opening possession.

Seton Hall will continue Big East play on Saturday, Jan. 2 when they host the DePaul Blue Demons. Tip-off is set for 11:00 a.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.


Matt Zeigafuse can be reached at or on twitter @mattzeigafuse

Author: Staff Writer

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