The Seton Hall men’s basketball team improved to 16-6 on the season and 6-4 in conference play with a 79-62 win over Marquette Wednesday night, extending its winning streak to a season-high three games. The Pirates swept the Golden Eagles for the first time in team history.
With both teams unsuccessful early from beyond the arc and each putting up just two threes at the half, this game was all about the inside work. It was the lengthy big tandem of Henry Ellenson (Big East Freshman of the Week) and Luke Fischer against the versatile Angel Delgado, Ihmael Sanogo and Michael Nzei.
With the game tied often and the lead not going beyond five points in the first half, points in the paint were key. Behind their bigs, the Pirates dominated, especially behind Delgado.
“He was tremendous,” Isaiah Whitehead said of Delgado after the game. “Just doing what Angel does.”
While finding some rhythm in a 13-2 run, the Pirates entered halftime with a 34-31 lead.
Seton Hall went on to start the second half with energy, gaining momentum by blocking shots, fighting to the rim and blocking out the paint on defense.
But it was a series of back-to-back-to-back threes that really got The Rock rocking.
Whitehead, Derrick Gordon and Khadeen Carrington all took turns from outside, giving Seton Hall a 61-51 lead. This started the final 10-minute stretch that saw the Hall’s lead go as high as 18, with Whitehead passing inside, pushing tempo and the defense not giving an inch to Ellenson or Fischer.
“We just talked, and said we had to pick it up,” Delgado said. “We can’t let a team come back in our house.”
Delgado looked as confident as he has ever been, finishing with a dominant double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds on 8-of-9 shooting, while gesturing to the crowd with his arms in excitement as the Pirates buckled down during the final stretch of the game.
While he had a quiet first half, the Big East Player of the Week commanded the floor in the second, finishing with a team-high 21 points and eight assists, while adding six rebounds.
The dominant defensive play inside of Delgado, Sanogo and Nzei, shutting down Ellenson, as well as Seton Hall’s ability to get into the paint, led the team to a 42-30 advantage inside. Seton Hall also shined in sharing the ball with assists registered on 20 of the team’s 29 field goals, and winning the assist battle 20-12.
The bench also played a large factor, with Gordon being the highlight contributing 13 points, two rebounds and three assists, often driving to the paint with ease. Seton Hall’s bench outscored Marquette’s 21-7.
Head coach Kevin Willard highlighted the team’s energy in the second half as a positive, and he sees good potential in his team.
“I enjoy coaching these guys every second I’m with them,” Willard said. “If they continue to work hard, stay focused, not get caught up in social media and all that stuff, and just stay very focused—yeah, I have high expectations.”
The 16-6 Pirates will continue their three-game home stand against 13-10 Georgetown on Saturday, Feb. 6 in a primetime 9 p.m. contest at The Rock.