In the team’s first marquee matchup of the season, the No. 22 Seton Hall Pirates took down the Indiana Hoosiers at the Prudential Center on Nov. 15. In the 84-68 win, the Pirates were led by senior stalwarts Desi Rodriguez and Angel Delgado, who scored 23 and 19 points respectively.
From the get-go, the Pirates looked like the better team but struggled to take care of the ball. After giving up 11 first-half turnovers, they kept a one-point lead at the break.
Although the first half was sloppy, it was clear that Rodriguez was going to be an issue for the Hoosiers. Rodriguez poured in 14 of his 23 points in the first half and looked unguardable, effectively keeping the game in the Pirates’ hands.
“Coach has me in ball screens a lot now,” Rodriguez said. “I think I’m doing a great job at finding Angel down low and Myles [Powell] to shoot. I’m happy coach has faith in me and can trust me with the ball in my hands.”
“I think Desi is an elite player,” coach Kevin Willard said. “In fact, I think he is probably one of the best players in college basketball.”
While Delgado was held to four points and four rebounds in the first half, the second half was where he was able to make his mark. Delgado ended up taking over the game, recording 19 points and 11 rebounds for his 53rd career double-double.
In the locker room, Willard emphatically called for his ball handlers to throw inside to the big man more.
“We talked about getting it back inside, making sure the big guy touched it,” Willard said. “I thought they did a really good job in the second half of just getting the big fella the ball.”
From that point forward Delgado took over the paint, making the first two baskets of the second half and reminding the Hoosiers of his All-American candidacy.
“Any time I get a rebound, an assist, a point, I am trying to get my guys going,” Delgado said. “Sometimes they tell me, ‘when you go crazy, we go crazy,’ so I got to get crazy sometimes for my guys.”
The starting backcourt of Khadeen Carrington and Myles Powell were also instrumental in the win. Carrington finished with 17 points and five assists while also regaining his three-point stroke, making three of his four shots after starting the season 0-9 from three. Powell finished with 11 points, marking the fourth Pirate with double figures.
The Pirates will return to the Prudential Center on Nov. 18 to take on NJIT before heading to Brooklyn, N.Y. for the NIT Tip-off on Thanksgiving.
Andrew Lombardo can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @lombardo_andrew.