Pirates, Rodriguez lock down to stun No. 17 Louisville
In one of the most anticipated games of the Pirates’ non-conference schedule, Seton Hall knocked off No. 17 Louisville, 79-77, on Sunday afternoon. The win improves the Pirates’ record to 7-1 in the early season.
After an early Pirate lead, Louisville gained its composure and was within one at the break, creating an intense second half. It did not matter, however, as the Pirates leading scorer Desi Rodriguez made a heavily contested layup with seven seconds to go to win the game.
From the tipoff, Rodriguez was the best player on the floor, scoring 19 of the Pirates’ 38 first-half points. Louisville had no answer for him in the second half, finishing with 29 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Any time it seemed like the Pirates were in a rut offensively, Rodriguez took control and asserted himself.
Thankfully for the Pirates, they found other sources of offense in the second half, specifically from Khadeen Carrington and Myles Powell. After slow starts, both finished in double figures with 18 and 13, respectively. Carrington’s improvement as a point guard was also on display, adding four assists while turning over the ball twice.
Down low, Angel Delgado notched himself a double-double, the 55th of his career. He finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass. Ismael Sanogo also grabbed six offensive rebounds despite playing in foul trouble much of the game.
The offensive rebounds were essential to creating second chances, considering Louisville’s stingy defense. The Cardinals finished with seven blocks, highlighting their rim protection and the Pirates’ aggressiveness driving to the basket.
Most impressively, the Pirates won without almost any bench production. With just three points coming from the bench, it was up to the starters to lock down and hit clutch shots. Down the stretch, the Pirates hit their last seven shots, showing off their experience and ability to finish games.
After returning home from Louisville, the Pirates will rest until Saturday, Dec. 9 when they face VCU in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center. It can be expected for the Pirates to climb back in the AP top-25 rankings after beating both ranked Texas Tech and Louisville the past week.
Andrew Lombardo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @lombardo_andrew.