The Seton Hall Pirates recorded their first win in conference play with a thrilling 69-66 home victory against Big East foe Marquette Sunday evening.
Despite trailing by as many as 10 points early in the first half, the Hall chipped away until it earned a lead with 1:29 left to go in the half to swing momentum its way going into the second half.
A large part of the Pirates’ first half deficit was the lack of production from the team’s leading scorer Khadeen Carrington, who failed to score any points on four attempted shots in that half.
“I thought [Carrington] did a good job in the first half of getting rid of the ball a little bit. He had four assists, one turnover in the first half,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “He has to get used to that early in games – maybe get rid of the ball. He’s gonna get it back eventually.”
The ball eventually did return to the junior guard, who finished the game with 12 points, seven boards and a game-high five assists.
The Golden Eagles were led by Katin Reinhardt, who singlehandedly outshot Seton Hall from three-point range, as he converted five of his eight attempts from deep for 15 of his 17 points.
A major theme for the Pirates was their versatility in scoring and finding opportunities to score.
Seton Hall recorded 40 points in the paint and 16 points on second chance attempts, while sinking an impressive 52 percent of its shots from the floor.
Leading the way in the strong scoring efforts was Angel Delgado, who led all scorers with 18 points and collected a game-high 12 rebounds, but did so with 38 minutes of action on the floor.
“Look. I’m sick,” Delgado said with laughter as he waived his prescriptions around. “It was tough. Thirty-eight minutes is a lot of minutes. I work hard every day in practice so I can be ready for these games like that.”
Seton Hall also revealed its unselfish nature by scoring nearly half of its field goals on assists, totaling 14 assisted baskets.
Despite these bright spots, reoccurring issues continued to plague the Pirates, such as scoring zero fast break points and surrendering 18 points off turnovers to the Golden Eagles.
The Hall coughed up back-to-back turnovers late in the second half that gave Marquette an easy four points and stole away Pirate momentum.
“Sloppy, hectic, you know it was just a slugfest,” Ismael Sanogo described the final minutes of the game. “It wasn’t pretty but we battled through and won.”
Even in the wake of these turnovers, late-game heroics from Carrington willed the Hall to victory as he scored the team’s final six points.
“Even when [Carrington] is struggling, and he was struggling, I still want the ball in his hands because I know he’s gonna make a big play,” Willard said. “Any time I can get the ball in his hands I have a lot of confidence in him.”
With six days until their next matchup, the Pirates will have time to rest and recover before they host DePaul on Saturday, Jan. 7. Tipoff is set for 12 p.m. at the Prudential Center.
Kyle Kasharian can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.