In what was the first game of a crucial homestand, the Seton Hall Pirates upset No. 20 Creighton by a final score of 87-81. The Pirates’ much heralded junior class stepped up in a big way, each making their mark. Pirate guard Khadeen Carrington led the charge, scoring a career-high 41 points in what was arguably the best game of his career thus far.
This was not the same Creighton team that beat the Pirates by 14 on Dec. 28. The Bluejays have been without their best player, Maurice Watson Jr., since Jan. 16 when he tore his ACL against Xavier, effectively ending his season. Despite losing its star, Creighton has managed to stay afloat thanks to its high-powered offense and spectacular shooting. Marcus Foster, the team’s top scorer, and freshman phenom Justin Patton, led the Bluejays on the offensive end. The duo finished with 23 and 15 points, respectively.
The Pirates’ four juniors made the difference in the end. In his first game back from injury, forward Ismael Sanogo made his presence felt on the defensive end, causing multiple Creighton turnovers. Desi Rodriguez was also crucial in the Pirates win. Despite a tough shooting night, Rodriguez managed to chip in 18 points.
Because his frontcourt counterpart was not yet 100 percent, Angel Delgado knew he had to show up, going against an NBA prospect in Patton. Delgado did more than just show up, finishing with 17 points to go with 17 rebounds, making him look like a man among boys once again in what was his 20th double-double of the season.
Pirates coach Kevin Willard was proud of his team’s performance after the win.
“We had an unbelievable two days of practice,” Willard said. “The guys understood what was at stake and brought it emotionally tonight for all 40 minutes.”
‘Bring it’ was all Carrington did, finishing with 41 points, five rebounds and seven assists. He also had four steals, making sure to bring it on the defensive end as well.
Willard was ecstatic about Carrington’s performance.
“I loved how efficient he was,” Willard said. “It was the best game I’ve seen him play from an all-around standpoint.”
Despite his huge night, Carrington was more focused on the win than his stat line.
“It has not really settled in as of yet,” Carrington said about his performance, including himself personally shooting 16-22 from the free throw line. ” I’m sure it will tomorrow when my phone is blowing up.”
While he was busy scoring a career-high 41 points, Carrington made sure to get his teammates involved too. He finished with a game-high seven assists, turning the ball over just once.
The Pirates will need this energy and composure if they wish to compete in their next game, against Big East rival Villanova this Saturday, Feb. 21. The Wildcats are currently the No. 2 team in the country and blew out the Pirates 76-46 in their first matchup. The game tips off at 12:30 p.m., in what will be a packed house at the Prudential Center.
Andrew Lombardo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Anlombardo8.