The Pirates have plans this Friday night.
After a slow start to the game and a tie at halftime, No. 5 seed Seton Hall surged in the second half to defeat No. 4 Marquette, 82-76 in Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament.
Five Pirates in double-figures defined the game. No one had to be the hero.
“I think everybody just kind of calmed down and took their time,” Khadeen Carrington said on the team’s turnaround. “The first half, we were kind of rushing. Once we calm down and take our time, everything falls into place.”
The player who was able to score consistently throughout the game was Myles Powell, who had 17 points. He was 3-6 from three on the game, and celebrated with a windmill motion after a corner trey bounced off the rim and fell into the net as the crowd erupted.
“He’s a guy that we’ve continued to need,” Willard said on Powell. “He went through a little tough stretch at the end of February, but he’s played this way all year long. He may not get as much attention because of the big fella (Angel Delgado), Khadeen and Desi (Rodriguez), the way they’re playing, but Myles is having a phenomenal freshman year.”
Carrington emerged as the team’s leading scorer with 19 points, as he drained all his free throws down the stretch, going 11-11 from the line.
From the beginning, Marquette’s game-plan was to double-team Delgado. It worked, causing him to turn the ball over five times, but it also turned double-double man Delgado into near-triple-double man Delgado. The big man finished with 12 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists, and would have been just the second player to officially put up a triple-double in the Big East Tournament.
“I told coach, ‘Put me back in!,’” Delgado said about knowing he was one assist away. “He said ‘You might get hurt,’ and I said ‘Alright I’ll just stay here then.’”
Willard added that if Marquette was not fouling at the end of the game, he would have put Delgado back in.
Seton Hall did a lot of its work down low. While putting up six three-pointers as a team, SHU outscored Marquette 40-12 in the paint. The Pirates also had a 41-30 advantage in rebounds and a 16-9 advantage in assists.
A 17-2 run over five and half minutes in the second half for Seton Hall put the Pirates up and sealed the deal. Seton Hall was fouled down the stretch and shot 22-23 from the free throw line on the game, which is the best Seton Hall has shot from the stripe all season, good for 95.7 percent.
Next, the Pirates take on No. 1 seed Villanova in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. The Friday game tips at 6:30 p.m., and is a rematch of last year’s Big East Tournament Final.
“It’s like waking up on Christmas. You’re all excited. You go down, you open up the presents, and you get a bunch of coal,” Willard joked when asked about facing Villanova. “They’re probably the best team in the country and we’re going to have to get to work.”
Elizabeth Swinton can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @eswint22.