by Josh Adams @NCAAHoopsDigest
Newark, NJ– One of the blue-bloods of college basketball, Indiana, came into Newark on Wednesday night and left battered by a veteran Seton Hall team in front of a raucous home crowd and giving the Big East a much needed win in the Gavitt Games.
It was the usual recipe for a Seton Hall win. Angel Delgado got his 53rd double-double of his career. Desi Rodriguez was spectacular and efficient at the same time. Khadeen Carrington found his spots on the floor and knocked down jumpers. It’s almost become routine to expect this from the three thousand point scorers. The difference may be this season is the continued progress of Myles Powell as a consistent scoring threat. The sophomore had flashes last season of becoming a top scorer but consistency was not his strong suit. In this young season, Powell doesn’t look discouraged when a few of his shots didn’t hit their mark. Seton Hall Coach Kevin Willard has seen that confidence grow and said after the game , “Myles is going to have a night where he has 47. He is always two shots away from breaking the game open.” While his numbers tonight weren’t great, he provided a spark midway through the first half that ignited the Pirates offense as he and Carrington started to extend the Indiana defense by hitting three pointers. When this happens it opens the lane for Rodriguez and that caused the Hoosiers defense headaches all game long. In one of the most efficient games of his career, Rodriguez scored 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting from the field. He showed Indiana his entire repertoire in driving into the lane and getting to the line and hitting jump shots. Willard called Rodriguez, “One of the best players in college basketball. Period. ” at the post-game press conference.
Delgado was a non-factor in the first half but let his teammates know at halftime that they should get him the ball. “I just give them (my teammates) a look.”, said Delgado on wanting the ball in the second half. The senior scored 15 points in the second half to end the game with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
While all the Pirate players and Willard were complimentary about Indiana’s play, this game was a blowout and one of the most significant non-conference wins in recent program history. New Hoosiers Coach Archie Miller has a young team that showed flashes of becoming a solid unit before the end of the season. Devonte Green led Indiana with 16 points off the bench while starter Robert Johnson contributed 12 points to the losing effort as IU falls to 1-2 in the early aughts of the season.
“To me the X factor for Seton Hall is Rodriguez”, said Miller after the game, “To me if he’s not a first team All Big-East player I’d be surprised.”
Rodriguez appreciated the compliments from his head coach after the game saying, “Coach has a lot of trust in me and I’m happy that he does. I just have to play efficient and be dominant sometimes for my team.”
It was a signature win that had the 8,452 fans more happy than one should be on a cold Wednesday night in Newark. The Pirates are nationally ranked, the team has gelled into what everyone envisioned and for a night at least, the team and state that is synonymous with college basketball were trounced by a team from New Jersey. The last time a Pirates team beat Indiana was on the way to the Final Four in 1989. With the way this Seton Hall team is playing, hey, sky is the limit this year.