Khadeen Carrington added his name to Seton Hall record books with 41-point explosion in Pirates' dramatic 87-81 victory over No. 20 Creighton. (Photo by The Record)
NEWARK, NJ -- After a loss to St. John's that put a significant crimp in Seton Hall's NCAA Tournament hopes, Kevin Willard spoke of Khadeen Carrington serving as the Robin to Isaiah Whitehead's Batman during the Pirates' Big East championship run last March.
With Seton Hall staring down the barrel of their postseason prospects as they braced for a three-game homestand, Willard stated that his junior guard needed to serve as his team's own Caped Crusader to help preserve any chance of joining the field of 68.
Carrington heeded his coach's advice Wednesday night, only in the form of another legendary superhero.
The Brooklyn native torched Creighton for 41 points, the most by a Big East player this season and tied for the eighth-highest single-game output in program history as the Pirates took down the 20th-ranked Bluejays by the final of 87-81 at the Prudential Center, refusing to go quietly into the night as they continue to fight back from a seated position of sorts.
"Clark Kent," was all Ismael Sanogo had to say of his teammate's heroic escapades on a night where Seton Hall (16-9, 6-7 Big East) also got 17 points and 17 rebounds from Angel Delgado, who outrebounded Creighton singlehandedly in the second half, pulling down 12 boards to the 11 tallied by the Bluejays as a whole. "Every time we need a big bucket, he's there. He gives it to us."
"He was on point tonight," added Marcus Foster, who led Creighton (21-5, 8-5 Big East) in the losing effort. "He was giving us trouble in every way; hitting threes, getting to the basket, finding his teammates. He's a good player."
It was Carrington's night from the start, as his basket 37 seconds into the game served as the first points of the evening. He would rack up 19 by the intermission, going all out on both ends of the floor to keep Seton Hall in the game as Creighton made the first 20 minutes a seesaw battle, one that concluded with the Pirates taking a 41-40 lead to the locker room.
The visitors unleashed a 13-5 run after the break to open up their largest lead, a 53-46 advantage with 15:13 remaining in regulation, but it was Carrington who brought Seton Hall back, feeding Myles Powell for a three-pointer that swung the pendulum to the hosts and punctuated a string of eight unanswered points. The Bluejays would return to matching blows down the stretch, but the Pirates' alpha dog would not be denied as he scored the final 10 points of the night, including a sequence where his steal and subsequent dunk in the waning seconds put the exclamation point on a game that was as close to a must-win as any for the reigning Big East champions this season. Afterward, however, the hero of the night focused not on his offensive production, but rather what he did to facilitate the team effort.
"It isn't settling as of yet," a humble Carrington said of his career night, which obliterated his previous personal best of 28 points against Florida last November. "I'm definitely finding it, (my stride) but the biggest thing for me tonight was the seven assists and one turnover. I had a lot of conversations with Coach about getting guys involved and also turning the ball over. Tonight, I did a great job of that."