Sunday, December 13, 2015

Seton Hall posts best defensive effort of season in thrashing of Saint Peter's

Angel Delgado's third straight double-double was all Seton Hall needed in 72-46 rout of Saint Peter's. (Photo courtesy of NJ Advance Media)

NEWARK, NJ -- Following Seton Hall's victory over Troy Thursday night, Kevin Willard admitted his team was ahead of the curve in their start to the season. If the Pirates were overachieving before this afternoon, then they are at or near the head of the class now.

Seton Hall (8-2) jumped on the gas and never looked back on Sunday, getting a balanced scoring effort from nearly everyone on the roster in a comfortable 72-46 victory over Saint Peter's, who dropped to 3-5 on the season. The 46 points yielded marks the second-lowest total in Seton Hall's history at the Prudential Center, with the 45 points surrendered to NJIT in 2010 serving as the gold standard.

"I thought we came out with good intensity," Willard remarked as the Pirates held Saint Peter's to 33 percent shooting from the floor, and only 3-of-16 from three-point range. "I was a little worried about our guys looking forward to next Saturday, (against Wichita State) but I thought we came in with good focus."

Seton Hall's defense played arguably its best game of the season, not allowing a single Peacock to reach double figures in scoring, keying in particularly on freshman sensation Antwon Portley, who was just 1-for-8 on the afternoon, making his sole basket on a layup late in the second half, when the outcome was well in hand.

"Our game plan was to take away Portley completely," Willard revealed, "and to make the other two guys (Quadir Welton and Trevis Wyche, who scored six points apiece) beat us. I thought even though we got up 19, whatever it was, I thought we did a good job sticking with and staying on Portley and making his night difficult, because that was the one guy that really, really scared me."

For the Pirates, Khadeen Carrington's 14 points led all scorers, while his backcourt running mate, Isaiah Whitehead, amassed 12 of his own markers. Angel Delgado continued his consistent streak with 10 points and 10 rebounds, good enough for his third straight double-double.

"I think our guys are doing a better job of throwing him the basketball," Willard said of the Dominican power forward and reigning Big East Freshman of the Year. "I think the more touches he gets, the more engaged he gets, just like any other big guy, but I think he's done a much better job the last two games on his pick-and-roll defense. When he's engaged on the defensive end, he's usually engaged and gets rebounds, because he's into the play."

Seton Hall latched themselves onto the accelerator early and often, starting the contest on a 19-4 run before Saint Peter's reeled off ten unanswered points to pull within five. The Peacocks got no closer the rest of the way, as the Pirates ripped off a 15-2 spurt in response, taking an 18-point lead and keeping their advantage in double digits for the remainder of the day.

"We were a little bit of a deer in headlights," Saint Peter's head coach John Dunne said of the Peacocks' offensive efforts. "We weren't composed at all in the first half, and I think we gave them points and life off our bad offense. They made us pay by making a lot of shots."

While Saint Peter's travels to the nation's capital on Saturday to face Mike Lonergan and George Washington, Seton Hall continues its four-game homestand by welcoming Wichita State into the Prudential Center Saturday in a noon tipoff.

"You can't look at their losses without (Fred) VanVleet," Willard cautioned when previewing the clash against Gregg Marshall's Shockers. "It's just not the same basketball team. He and (Ron) Baker complement each other so well. We're going to have our hands full, because we're going to have to handle their pressure in the half court and we're going to have to do a good job on VanVleet and Baker, because I know they said he (VanVleet) was only 80 percent, but he looked pretty darn good last night (against Utah)."

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