Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Seton Hall Still Breathing After Overtime Win at Georgetown
By DENNIS CHAMBERSWASHINGTON, D.C. — Seton Hall headed down to the nation’s capital with their season seemingly on its death bed.
After escaping Georgetown in overtime, 68-66, the Pirates (14-8, 4-6 Big East) breathed life back in to their quest for an NCAA tournament bid.
It wasn’t pretty — Seton Hall shot just 35 percent from the field – but a win Saturday afternoon away from home felt more than necessary after dropping five of their last six games.
Pirates head coach KevinWillard felt the urgency heading into the conference matchup, too.
“We needed to win,” Willard said. “They had three great wins in a row … We had been playing good, we’ve just been on the road. This is our sixth road game in ten games. For us, it was just a matter of getting over the hump on the road. I knew it would be close, I knew it would be a close game, it was just a matter of can we finally pull one out.”
Pull one out the Pirates did, again on the back of junior AngelDelgado, who posted the 40th double-double of his career by notching 26 points and 17 rebounds.
The nation’s leading rebounder, Delgado broke down his team’s victory to one simple advantage: effort.
“You just gotta play harder than the other team,” Delgado said. “We wanted it more than them, and that’s why we got this game. That’s what we gotta keep doing every game.”
Just like his coach, Delgado knew this particular game was a must-win.
“I was saying it the whole time,” Delgado said. “I said we cannot lose this game, we gotta win this game. If we won this game, we’re gonna make our run and we’ll be good for the rest of the season.”
Adversity is no stranger to the Seton Hall basketball program. Two seasons ago, the Pirates suffered a nationally covered collapse that saw them finish 16-15 after starting the year 13-2 with wins over then-ranked St. John’s and Villanova.
Rewind to last season, the Pirates were 3-4 in conference play and on the ropes of blowing yet another promising start. But player leadership intervened and Seton Hall rode their way to their first Big East tournament championship in 23 years.
Delgado was present for both seasons, he maybe better than anyone, knows where this team can head next.
“This happened before our freshman year,” Delgado said of Seton Hall’s slump. “We didn’t know how to fight through it. But this year, I’m pretty sure we know how to fight through it. We’re gonna be good by the end of the season.”
Adding in 16 points from guard KhadeenCarrington, who’s struggled over the Pirates losing stretch, Seton Hall potentially gains the confidence back of their leading scorer heading forward.
“Yesterday we just spent extra time in the gym letting him see the ball go through the net,” Willard said about helping Carrington through his cold streak. “We did a lot of individual work with him. Again, it’s just a matter of sometimes you need to see the ball go through the net. I thought he took good shots, I thought he was under control tonight.
“It was just a matter of time until Khadeen pops out,” Willard added.
Seton Hall will play four of their next five games at home starting Feb. 8 with Providence. If there is any time for the Pirates to begin their march back to the Big Dance, now is the perfect opportunity.
“It’s time for Seton Hall to make their run now,” Delgado said. “I think we’ll be good. We’ve got a lot of home games. We’re gonna finish strong this season.”
Photo: William Hauser
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