The No. 19 Seton Hall men’s basketball team dropped their second game in three contests by an 80-63 score against the Creighton Bluejays in Omaha, Neb., a game in which leading scorer Desi Rodriguez was benched and played just six minutes.
Following the game, coach Kevin Willard told Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin on AM 970 “The Answer” that Rodriguez “had this look in his face he didn’t want to be out there.”
“When he gets that way, you just got to let him regroup and refocus,” Willard said. “And it just never happened.”
Rodriguez seemed to respond to the comments in a tweet referencing his will to play with his teammates.
Creighton had two crucial factors that launched the team to victory: the points in the paint advantage of 38-26 over the Hall, and the 17 turnovers the Bluejays forced out of the Pirates that gave them more opportunities to score.
The Bluejays were led by Marcus Foster’s 25 points, as he shot 5-for-8 from beyond the three-point line.
The game was the first of the season in which all four seniors were held to under 10 points scoring. Myles Powell was the only player in double-digits with 19 points, four of which came from three. Ismael Sanogo turned in an impressive nine points and 10 rebounds, the latter being a game-high.
A sluggish start for the Pirates buried them early as the Bluejays held a 20-4 lead with less than six minutes to go in the first half. Seton Hall never fully bounced back, only getting as close as a five-point deficit with thirty seconds left before halftime.
As Seton Hall lacked Rodriguez’s contributions, Creighton was not without their own share of missing personnel, as Bluejays forward Martin Krampelj was injured late in the first half and sat out the remainder of the game. Krampelj led the Bluejays with 23 points and 10 rebounds., but they carried on without him to get the victory.
This was Seton Hall’s second loss to an unranked-conference foe on the road after the loss to Marquette on Tuesday, Jan. 9.
With the loss, Seton Hall falls to 4-2 in conference play, while the Bluejays elevate to 5-2 in the Big East.
The Pirates will continue Big East play when they return home on Saturday, Jan. 20 for South Orange Day. It does not get easier for the Pirates with the No. 11 Xavier Musketeers visiting the Prudential Center. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.
Kyle Kasharian can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.