New Jersey is a Pirate Blue State.
Led by Joe Calabrese Most Valuable Player Angel Delgado and his 19 points and 16 rebounds, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team captured the Garden State Hardwood Classic for the third consecutive season with a 72-61 victory over Rutgers Friday night at Prudential Center, maintaining bragging rights in the in-state rivalry that dates back to 1916.
Junior Khadeen Carrington (Brooklyn, N.Y.) reached the 20-point benchmark for the sixth time this season and went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line. Junior Ismael Sanogo (Newark, N.J.) continued to make his case as one of the best defenders in the nation, as he pulled down a career-high 16 boards and also recorded three steals, two assists and two blocks.
For Rutgers, guard Corey Sanders and Nigel Johnson scored 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Seton Hall (10-2) could not get in an offensive rhythm in the opening half and shot just 8-of-33 (24.2 percent). Meanwhile, Rutgers (11-2) shot just 34.7 percent, but led 32-23 at the break after closing the final 6:34 on a 13-3 run.
The teams traded buckets throughout the second half and the game was deadlocked at 51-51 with 7:43 to play. Next, RU took what turned out to be its final lead of the night at 53-51, before The Hall rattled off eight-straight points to go from down two with under seven minutes to play, to up six, 59-53, with 3:08 on the clock.
The Scarlet Knights made one last push and cut the lead to four, 59-55, with 2:40 remaining. Senior Madison Jones (Raleigh, N.C.) responded with a dagger three-pointer to go up by seven off a well-executed pass from Delgado.
On the following SHU possession junior Desi Rodriguez (Bronx, N.Y.) capitalized on a dunk that erupted the capacity crowd at Prudential Center as the Pirates took a 64-55 lead with 1:58 to go. The Hall then connected on 8-of-10 free-throws over the final 1:44 to thwart the Rutgers comeback attempt.
Inside the Numbers
· In the second half, The Hall shot 53.3 percent (16-of-30) and outscored RU in 24-10 in the paint and 10-1 in second chance points.
· Overall, Rutgers was limited to 36.0 percent (18-of-50) shooting from the field, the lowest percentage allowed by SHU this season.
· The Pirates had advantages in points in the paint (34-18), points off turnovers (19-17), and second chance points (19-6).
· Rutgers, which came into the game averaging 15.7 offensive rebounds, was limited to six offensive rebounds as SHU held a 48-36 edge on the glass.
· SHU won the turnover battle, 19-15, and dished out 11 assists including a game-high five from Jones, who led the team in helpers for the seventh time this season.
· Rutgers shot an impressive 22-for-28 (78.6 percent) from the charity stripe, while SHU finished 19-of-31 (61.3 percent).
· The deep ball did not play much of a factor for either teams, as RU went 3-for-10 and SHU shot 5-for-14.
News & Notes
· Friday was SHU’s third consecutive victory in the Garden State Hardwood Classic, which was created in 2014, and fourth overall win in the series versus the Scarlet Knights. All-time, the Pirates are now 39-29 against Rutgers.
· Delgado completed his sixth double-double in a row and is averaging 17.5 points and 13.3 rebounds over that span.The Pirates have won 21 consecutive games when he doubles up and are 27-4 in such occasions during his career.
· Delgado was named the Joe Calabrese Most Valuable Player. Given out each year since 2000, the award is given to the top player on the winning team of the Seton Hall-Rutgers game and is named for the late Joe Calabrese, who was a New Jersey sportswriter for 38 years and covered Rutgers for 12 years for the Newark Star-Ledger.
· Delgado is now tied for ninth all-time in Seton Hall history in career rebounds with 763.
· The Hall improves to 160-60 (.727) against teams from the state of New Jersey.
· SHU has played in 81 consecutive regular season non-conference games without losing two in a row, a streak that dates back to Willard’s debut season with the Pirates in December 2010.
· Willard is 66-19 (.776) in non-league games and 44-4 (.916), in non-conference home games at SHU, including 19 in-a-row.
· Carrington is now 17 points shy of reaching the 1,000-point plateau for his career.
· The Pirates improve to 4-0 on the season when trailing at halftime.
· SHU is 34-1 in their last 35 games (dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season) when holding at least a seven-point lead at any point in the contest.
· Having played a very difficult non-conference schedule, The Hall improves to 4-2 over teams from Basketball Power Six conferences this season.
· SHU has outrebounded opponents and outscored them in the paint in 10 of 12 games.
· Seton Hall is now 10-2 through 12 games for the third consecutive season and fifth time in seven seasons under Willard.
Seton Hall will commence BIG EAST play next Wednesday when it heads to Omaha, Neb., to take on the nationally ranked Creighton Bluejays. Tip-off will be at 8 p.m., Eastern, and FS2 and FOX Sports GO will carry the game with Steve Physioc and Nick Bahe on the call. Gary Cohen and Dave Popkin will have the radio call on AM970 The Answer, simulcast on Sirius 83, XM 386 and the Pirate Sports Network, available on SHUPirates.com and the SHU Pirates Mobile App.
The Pirates’ next home game at Prudential Center takes place on Sunday, Jan. 1, when they host Marquette at 4:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.