It may have been the last game of the regular season with Seton Hall already a lock for the No. 3 seed in the Big East Tournament, but for Isaiah Whitehead and crew, there are no days off.
Behind a career-high 33 points from Whitehead, the Pirates defeated DePaul 80-66 on the road Saturday afternoon to finish with a 22-8 record on the season and a 12-6 mark in conference play.
In the first half of the game, it was all about the three ball; DePaul was missing them, and the Hall was making them. Out of the first timeout, Derrick Gordon, usually one to run the lane, made back-to-back threes.
As DePaul would miss its shots from long range, the team would do its best to clean up in the paint. The Blue Demons owned the advantage through the game over a team that usually gets to work in the paint through drives and moves by big man Angel Delgado.
Anchored by a team effort, sharing the ball and recording assists on almost all of its field goals, Seton Hall entered halftime with a 36-32 lead. DePaul gave a scare down the stretch, as it reduced a nine-point deficit to just four in the last two minutes of play.
The Blue Demons came out of halftime with the same aggression. Threatening to tie it up and go on a run, the Pirates needed to respond.
That’s where Whitehead came in.
With each and every threat from DePaul, Whitehead had some hand in cooling the Blue Demons. Need to draw a charge? He has it. An assist to the open man? Absolutely. A three? Even better, he will give back-to-back from distance.
DePaul had no answer.
After scoring just eight points in the first half, Whitehead dropped 25 in the second to record his career-high 33 points. He also put up five assists and five boards while he was at it.
This one was as good as over as Whitehead led the Pirates on a 16-3 run down the stretch. Ignited by tip-ins by Ismael Sanogo, a dunk by Desi Rodriguez , baseline-fade away jumpers by Whitehead and multiple extended droughts by DePaul, the Pirates rounded out their six-conference-road win season, a program record.
While quiet offensively with five points, Angel Delgado was huge on the boards with 10 rebounds, with Sanogo also grabbing nine. Khadeen Carrington added 17 points with 3-9 shooting from distance. The team finished 12-25 from three-point range.
With the regular season complete, next up is the Big East Tournament. Seton Hall stands as a No. 3 seed as it awaits the team it will play in the No. 6 slot. As regular season play settles around the conference Saturday, the standings will be finalized.
One thing is for sure: No. 3 seed Seton Hall will play its No. 6 seed foe in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, March 10 at 9:30 p.m.
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eswint22.