In a game where Seton Hall came in as 21-point favorites, the Pirates beat the Delaware Blue Hens 81-68 Saturday evening at Prudential Center. With the win, Seton Hall’s record improves to 9-2.
While beating the Blue Hens, Seton Hall’s lead stayed steady at around eight to 10 points during the game. The Pirates were never able to surge ahead.
“We probably had our worst four-day stretch of practice that we’ve had in a long time,” Kevin Willard said. “I think that’s a reason why we didn’t play well.”
The head coach used the first half to test out his bench. He went 10 players deep, giving Eron Gordon and Dalton Soffer minutes.
Transfer guard Madison Jones had an aggressive night on offense, finishing with 15 points, three rebounds and four assists in addition to four steals.
“I just felt very comfortable,” Jones said. “We finally got back from traveling a lot, got to get back in the gym with the coaches. It just felt very good, being confident on both sides of the court. Just from the jump, it felt good.”
Seton Hall held an advantage in the paint through the game, outscoring Delaware 44-28. Meanwhile, Delaware brought a 28-15 advantage in points off the bench.
This was Seton Hall’s first game without sophomore Veer Singh, whose transfer from the University was announced on Friday.
“It’s tough losing a good young man. Sometimes it just doesn’t work,” Willard said. “Sometimes kids need a mental change. He’d been trying, and we’d been trying, but sometimes it’s as simple as it just doesn’t work.”
Angel Delgado, did work, however. The big man continued to show his dominant self against Delaware, putting up a double-double of 22 points and 15 rebounds despite spraining his ankle pregame after stepping on a manager’s foot. Desi Rodriguez also added two threes and a huge left-handed dunk that brought Prudential Center to its loudest volume of the game.
— Seton Hall MBB (@SetonHallMBB) December 18, 2016
“I knew it was a big one,” Rodriguez said. “It didn’t feel too big, but when I heard everybody’s reaction, I knew it was a big one.”
Overall, Seton Hall shot 32-69 (46 percent) from the field, but continued to struggle at the line, shooting 10-20.
“We probably should’ve been up 16 at halftime if we had made half our free throws,” Willard said.
Seton Hall next takes on Rutgers in the Garden State Hardwood Classic at Prudential Center on Dec. 23 at 6:30 p.m. The Pirates are 2-0 in the Classic’s history.
Delgado is eagerly anticipating the matchup.
“They can be No. 1 in the country and we’re still going to beat them,” Delgado said. “I’m coming in with the mindset that we’re not losing this game.”
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @eswint22.