South Orange, N.J. — After playing solid defense in a win over Virginia Commonwealth last Saturday, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard knew that his 15th-ranked Pirates had to keep up the pressure against old-time New Jersey rival Saint Peter’s.
“I thought if we could get them a little out of a rhythm, we’d be in good shape,” Willard said after his team held the Peacocks to just one field goal among their first 12 shots in an easy 84-61 win at the old Walsh Gym on the campus of Seton Hall.
“We played a little zone to make it difficult for them to shoot,” Willard said. “I loved the way we came out and played defensively.”
The Pirates’ stifling defense enabled them to take an 8-0 lead and cruise from that point on. Seton Hall managed to push Saint Peter’s farther and farther away from the basket with every possession.
“It was the same intensity that we had against VCU,” Willard said.
“Saint Peter’s likes to be able to run their own stuff and we didn’t let them do it,” said senior forward Angel Delgado, who scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, the 57th time in his career that Delgado has registered double figures in both categories. “We pressed. We played zone. They couldn’t run anything.”
“I think we set the tone defensively,” said senior Desi Rodriguez, who continued his fine play with 17 points. “We were able to close out, defend their shots and we were able to make some runs.”
Khadeen Carrington added 11 points and five assists, as Seton Hall (9-1) raced out to an early lead and never looked back, winning for the 20th time in the last 21 meetings against the Peacocks (4-5).
Davauhnte Turner scored 13 points and Nick Griffin had nine to pace Saint Peter’s.
After Elijah Gonzales drained a 3-pointer to pull the Peacocks within 35-23, the Pirates scored the last seven points of the first half, capped by a layup by Delgado with 42 seconds remaining, giving Seton Hall a commanding 42-23 halftime lead. Rodriguez paced the Pirates with 11 first-half points.
Seton Hall scored the first four points after the break to take a 46-23 lead.
Freshman Myles Cale nailed a long 3-pointer, then threw down a monstrous windmill dunk off a steal to push the lead to 61-38, causing Saint Peter’s to call another timeout with 10:29 left.
Seton Hall held a commanding 43-27 advantage on the boards.
Saint Peter’s coach John Dunne came away impressed with the Pirates.
“We had Terry Dehere (Seton Hall’s all-time leading scorer) in for a practice and I said to him that this was the best Seton Hall team since he was there,” Dunne said. “I don’t get overly impressed by watching other teams, but I’m impressed with these guys. They have all the pieces. They play unselfishly and share the ball. They’re legit. It wasn’t like we lost to a bad team. We just got stopped by them from the start.”
More Top 25
No. 25 Cincinnati 65, Mississippi State 50: At Highland Heights, Kentucky, Jacob Evans III had 24 points and eight rebounds as Cincinnati recovered from back-to-back losses and handed Mississippi State its first defeat.
The Bearcats (8-2) were coming off losses to crosstown rival Xavier and Florida that dropped them from No. 11 to the fringe of the rankings. They ended the slump with a solid defensive showing against the Southeastern Conference’s last unbeaten team, blocking 11 shots.
Aric Holman matched his career high with 18 points for Mississippi State (8-1), which was off to its best start since 2003-04. The Bulldogs shot a season-low 30 percent from the field.
(At) Maryland 76, Catholic 59: Anthony Cowan scored 18 points, Kevin Huerter added 14 and Maryland overcame a sluggish start before pulling away from Division III Catholic.
The Terrapins (10-3) had three key players out of the lineup because of injuries. Forwards Justin Jackson (shoulder soreness) and Bruno Fernando (ankle sprain) missed their second straight game. Guard Dion Wiley (sick) was also unable to play.
Jared Nickens had 14 points for the Terrapins, who led by just six at the break.
Ivan Bender and Cowan hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 10-2 run to start the second half, extending Maryland’s lead to 47-33. From there, the Terrapins were not threatened the rest of the way.
Huerter and Nickens hit back-to-back shots from beyond the arc and Maryland led 53-35 with 14:32 remaining. The Terrapins, who have won four straight, played tighter man-to-man defense and finished with seven steals.
A dunk by Huerter boosted the margin to 60-38 and coach Mark Turgeon was able to rotate players. Maryland’s deep bench outscored Catholic 24-4.
Jay Howard, a NCAA Division III All-American candidate, led the Cardinals (9-4) with 20 points and Riley Hayes finished with 14.
(At) Rutgers 75, Fordham 63: Deshawn Freeman had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Corey Sanders added 12 points. Freeman was 6 of 9 from the floor, and Sanders was 4-of-8 shooting and collected his 1,000th career point. Geo Baker chipped in 12 points and Candido Sa didn’t miss a shot and scored all 10 of his points in the first half for Rutgers (9-3), which has won three straight.
Ivan Raut scored 19 points, including 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, to lead Fordham (4-6). Will Tavares had 11 points, and David Pekarek and Perris Hicks each chipped in 10.
(At) No. 23 Michigan 79, North Florida 34: Katelynn Flaherty scored 27 points in 29 minutes. Hallie Thome scored 11 and Jillian Dunston had 15 rebounds for the Wolverines (9-2). Michigan took a 24-4 lead after the first period and never was challenged.
(At) Wayne State 74, UM-Dearborn 67: Ronald Booth scored 29 for Wayne State (5-4). Jason Penn had 15 for Dearborn (10-5).