By Josh Adams, @NCAAHoopsDigest
The numbers stood out on the Madison Square Garden scoreboard like they were in neon.
Angel Delgado was so close to getting the second triple-double in Seton Hall program history. Double-doubles come as regularly to Delgado as a hot cup of coffee in a New Jersey diner. Today was a new wrinkle in the already storied career of the Pirates all-Big East player. Twelve points, sixteen rebounds and NINE assists. So close to a triple-double that you could hear the angst in Seton Hall fans voices as the minutes ticked away. Never mind the score, Seton Hall had the game pretty much in hand after a 17-2 run in the second half. It was as close to history as a player can get.
Delgado’s dominance gave Seton Hall a 82-76 victory over Marquette in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament on Thursday afternoon. Today’s game was the rubber match between the two teams who each won at home during conference season and propelled the Pirates into the Big East semifinals on Friday night where they will take on the Villanova Wildcats in a rematch of last year’s Big East final where the Pirates pulled the upset. It was a dominating game for Villanova who scored the most points ever by a Wildcats team with a 108-67 margin on Thursday over a St. John’s team that didn’t have the talent to compete with the defending national champions.
It was a balanced scoring attack from Seton Hall with five players in double figures. Khadeen Carrington led the Pirates with 19 points with freshman Myles Powell getting 17 points, Madison Jones with 13 points, Delgado with 12 points and Desi Rodriguez with 11.
Seton Hall (21-10) and Marquette (19-12) were tied at halftime at 35 but the Pirates distanced themselves as the Golden Eagles went ice cold midway through the second stanza. The difference in this game was free throws. Normally not a strong suit for Seton Hall, the Pirates hit 22-23 from the charity stripe.
Marquette’s Andrew Rowsey led all scorers with 23 points. Markus Howard added 16 for the Golden Eagles.
Today’s win marked the fifth conference win in a row for Seton Hall and they now face a Wildcats team that dominated them in two match-ups in conference play. Villanova was heavily favored last year in the conference final but Seton Hall figured out a way to win. Delgado didn’t seem phased about playing the defending national champions saying, “We can play an NBA team, I don’t care, I want to go and have fun.”
Pirates Coach Kevin Willard compared playing Villanova to coming down the stairs on Christmas morning and finding a lump of coal in your stocking. “They’re the best team in the country and we’re going to have to get to work an figure out a way to beat them, but we’ll come battle.”
With a place in the NCAA Tournament assured, the Pirates have a chance to move up in seeding and defend their Big East Tournament crown against a Wildcats team that is firing on all cylinders. This all takes place Friday night in front of a sold out Madison Square Garden crowd. Follow us on @NCAAHoopsDigest on twitter for up-to-the minute Big East Tournament news.