The Seton Hall men’s basketball team rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 67-59 victory over the Bradley Braves on Friday night in the second round of the Gildan Charleston Classic.
Sophomore forward Desi Rodriguez set a new career-high, finishing with 18 points.
The game featured a battle of youthful teams: the Braves being the youngest team in college basketball with 10 freshmen and the Pirates starting five sophomores.
The Pirates, led by Rodriguez, came out firing on all cylinders in the first half, jumping out to an early 6-0 lead. The Braves came storming back at the hands of a Dante Thomas layup and free throw and a Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye three-pointer, tying the game up right away.
Rodriguez led all scorers in the first half, going 5-for-7 from the field, including 1-for-2 from behind the arc. Those numbers were good enough to send the Pirates into halftime with a 34-25 lead.
“Desi is playing simple basketball,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “Because he is playing simple basketball he is doing everything right. He is not trying to do too much.”
Sophomore Khadeen Carrington, who only scored four points in the first half, helped Rodriguez in the second half by tallying 10 points to finish with 14 for the game. Carrington went 4-for-9 from the field in the second half, finishing 5-for-12 from the field.
Isaiah Whitehead took a hit to his head at the end of the first half and the Pirates’ coaching staff decided to keep him out of action in the second as a precaution, according to Willard.
“He is doing okay, he looks better,” Willard said. “He was coming off of a concussion from Sunday and he has to go through the protocol again. We will see where he is at tomorrow.”
Bradley was led by Lautier-Ogunleye, who finished with a game-high 19 points.
The Pirates won both the rebounding and turnover battles as well. SHU had 11 giveaways for the game and forced 15, while out rebounding the Braves 38-33.
With the win, the Pirates move to 3-1 on the season. Seton Hall will take the floor for one more game in Charleston on Sunday when they take on Ole Miss at 3:30 p.m. in the fifth-place game at TD Arena.
Kevin Huebler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Hueblerkevin.