Senior Jared Rhoden led the Seton Hall Pirates to a statement win as the guard scored 30 points in an 82-66 win over Xavier in Cincinnati on Saturday.
In an utterly dominant performance, the Pirates all but secured an NCAA Tournament bid after entering an extremely hostile Cintas Center and locking down another Quad 1 victory.
Rhoden wanted the game from the outset. The senior put up nine shots in the first half, a game-high, and secured 14 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Junior Tray Jackson followed this up with a perfect performance from the floor, shooting 4-4 for 11 points while Cale dropped 8.
The defense was what allowed the Pirates to be out front at halftime, as, despite having similar shooting stats, The Hall forced Xavier into 6 turnovers and their spacing and switches on ball screens was just enough to disrupt the Musketeers offensive flow.
Though the game was tight for the entire start, as the halftime score was 39-31 in favor of the Pirates, Seton Hall led for over 15 minutes thanks to only three fouls and three turnovers of their own.
The second half was even better for the Pirates. Sophomore Kadary Richmond stepped it up, scoring all 12 of his points in the final 20 minutes, along with dishing 7 assists.
Rhoden continued dominating, scoring another 16 points throughout the second half. He finished with 30, a career-high in points, along with 6 rebounds.
Jackson, having already shot perfectly from deep in the first half, finished 5-5 from behind the arc and gathered 17 points and 5 rebounds.
The Musketeers looked as weak as they have all season. After being ranked in the AP Top 25 for multiple weeks, a lackluster February has brought them crashing back down to earth, and an abysmal performance on Saturday did not help their case.
Xavier turned the ball over 14 times over the course of the game and were outscored in the paint 32-24 because of a great defensive effort by the Pirates.
With only two games left in the season and a tournament bid pretty much secured, the Pirates will come out on Wednesday at Prudential Center against Georgetown (0-16 in-conference) for their last home game of the season and for senior night for Rhoden, Myles Cale, Alexis Yetna, Jamir Harris, Ike Obiagu, and Bryce Aiken.