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.
NEW YORK (AP) —Kevin Willard’s words could be construed as both his belief and a warning to those teams who will come across Seton Hall’s path.
The Pirates are not a one-man team.
“(Angel Delgado) understands that he has so many weapons around him,” Willard said after Seton Hall’s 89-79 victory over No. 22 Texas Tech on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. “Eventually teams are going to have to stop double-teaming him. … I just think the guys around him are working with him to make it easier (for him).”
Look no further than what transpired on the Madison Square Garden court. Myles Powell scored seven of his 19 points in a span of 45 seconds late in the second half to salt away Seton Hall’s sixth win in seven games.
Powell was one of four Pirates (6-1) to finish in double figures. Desi Rodriguez finished with 24 points while Khadeen Carrington had 16 and Delgado, who led the nation in rebounding last season, added 12.
“We never stay down,” Carrington said. “We did a great job.”
Whereas Seton Hall left on a high, Texas Tech viewed their first loss as a mixed bag.
“There (were) some positives,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said.
Keenan Evans led the Red Raiders (6-1) with 21 points while Jarrett Culver added 17, Zach Smith 12, Zhaire Smith 11, and Niem Stevenson 10.
“Wish we would have played better,” Beard said.
The Red Raiders entered the game fourth in the nation allowing 55 points per game.
“Without watching the film Seton Hall was more aggressive than Texas Tech,” he said.
Trailing by three at halftime, Seton Hall outscored Texas Tech 31-22 in the first 12:42 of the second half to take a 70-64 lead.
For a team possessing an interior presence in Delgado, Seton Hall was able to take a lead not by dumping the ball into the post but with its perimeter attack. The Pirates made four 3-pointers and knocked down seven jump shots in all during that stretch.
“We talk a lot about getting inside-out 3s. I have the best shooter in the country on my team. Anytime he shoots it looks like it’s going in,” Willard said. “Angel gets us a lot of easy looks. That’s one of the reasons we have open 3s. You have to put four guys in the lane against him.”
Following a missed free throw by Norense Odiase, Powell drilled a 3 to extend Seton Hall’s lead to nine, then drew a player control foul on Stevenson.
“I stayed level-headed,” Powell said.
One minute and thirty-two seconds later, Carrington’s running leaner in the lane gave put the Pirates ahead 75-65. Before Carrington’s basket, Seton Hall grabbed four offensive rebounds sandwiched around a missed free throw.
Texas Tech twice cut the deficit to six, first on Evans’ two free throws with 3:05 left, then on his layup 53 seconds later. That was as close as the Red Raiders would get, as Powell made a 3 and converted two layups in a 45-second span to put Seton Hall ahead 86-73.
“They shoot the ball like that with their talent and their coach, they’re going to play in the second weekend of the (NCAA) Tournament,” Beard said of Seton Hall. “They played great.”
The Pirates outrebounded Texas Tech 37-33. Seton Hall shot 50.8 percent from the field (30 for 59), including 55 percent from 3 (11 for 22).
“We’re still a work in progress,” Willard said.
SETON HALL: During his news conference immediately following the 75-74 loss to Rhode Island in the NIT Season Tip-off on Nov. 23 at Barclays Center, Willard was at a loss to remember the last time his team allowed a team to score 54 points and shoot 60.7 percent in an opening half. Seven days later, Seton Hall yielded 42 points and 56.3 percent shooting to Texas Tech in the first half.
TEXAS TECH: The Red Raiders entered the game ranked in the top five nationally in scoring defense (4th overall with an average of 55.3 points) and field goal percentage defense (2nd overall at 33.5 percent). They may drop because Seton Hall finished with 89 points on 50.8 percent shooting from the field.
SETON HALL: The Pirates improved to 1-1 all-time against Texas Tech. Seton Hall dropped an 87-69 decision to the Red Raiders on March 16, 2010, in a first-round NIT game held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
TEXAS TECH: The most points the Red Raiders had allowed in a half this season was 31 to Boston College on Nov. 18. That was until Thursday night when the Pirates scored 39.
SETON HALL: Travels to No. 17 Louisville on Sunday.