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.
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Seton Hall Drops Creighton Behind Carrington’s Career Night
NEWARK — Standing in the shadow of Seton Hall’s near-doomed season KhadeenCarrington delivered a superhuman performance.
“Clark Kent,” IsmaelSanogo said about Carrington’s game after the Pirates’ 87-81 win over No. 20 Creighton at Prudential Center. “Every time we need a big bucket, he’s there.”
Carrington delivered multiple big buckets Wednesday night, but the overall show he put on was so much more. The junior finished with a career-high 41 points, seven assists, five rebounds, and four steals. Most importantly in a game decided by six points, Carrington turned the ball over just one time.
“I love how efficient he was,” head coach KevinWillard said of his lead guard. “Ten-for-fifteen, seven assists, one turnover, four steals. He made his free throws. He rebounded, he defended. That was the best game I’ve seen him play from an all-around standpoint.”
While making his way to the summit of his 41 points, Carrington kept in mind one attribute of his game that he’s strayed away from some this season.
“I know how important these games are down the stretch and I just try to stay aggressive,” Carrington said. “Like every play. I haven’t been doing that a lot of games this year. I have to change that, so I did that tonight.”
Coming off a loss at Madison Square Garden to St. John’s, Seton Hall was 15-9 and 5-7 in Big East play. Stealing a win from the ranked Creighton Bluejays was a must for the Pirates to keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive.
“It was no pressure at all,” Sanogo said. “We have tremendous faith in ourselves. We knew this was going to be a big one, and we knew we had to get out there and play. So that’s what we went out and did.”
Along with the comic book-type numbers provided by Carrington, the Pirates were propelled to victory by their core members of the junior class.
AngelDelgado and DesiRodriguez did their part, and then some, to help Carrington and Sanogo sail home a victory. Delgado, after managing just two points and five rebounds in the first half, finished the game with 17 and 17, respectively. Rodriguez added 18 points of his own, including three shots made from downtown.
“They understood what was at stake,” Willard said of the game’s importance. “I thought they really brought it emotionally tonight for all 40 minutes.”
After missing the last two games with an ankle injury, Sanogo showed back up just in time to help out his junior classmates with seven rebounds, a block and a couple of steals. The defensive wizard believes Seton Hall is at its best when those four upperclassmen are on the court.
“They’ve been telling me they miss me on the court all week,” Sanogo said. “And I need to get back, I need to stop faking. I feel like when the four of us are on the court the team morale is up, and we just play a lot better.”
Despite being the closing act, Carrington and Delgado were not the headliners coming in to Wednesday nights game. A dozen NBA scouts were on hand to see Creighton’s JustinPatton, the projected No. 13 pick in June’s draft by DraftExpress.com.
Showing flashes of his brilliance, Patton was ultimately overmatched by the veteran Delgado, scoring 15 points and securing just two rebounds.
“Angel’s just a grown man,” said Sanogo, who had an close-up view of the battle down low. “Patton’s a great player, but Angel’s a grown man. At the end of the day, he wanted it more.”
Delgado’s high-scoring guard agreed.
“Angel’s the best big man in the league,” Carrington said. “I’ve been saying that for a while now.”
Next up for Seton Hall will be No. 2 Villanova at the Prudential Center Feb. 19. After the shellacking the Pirates received in the first match up, they’re ready for another shot at the national champions in front of the projected 18,000 fan sellout.
“It’s pay back time,” Sanogo said. “We’re in our house this time.”
Photo: USA Today Sports Images
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