by Josh Adams
Newark, NJ— In their final non-conference game of the season, the #23 Seton Hall Pirates dispatched the Manhattan Jaspers by the score of 74-62. It was quite the week for the home team as they had a player leave the team and then comeback (Jordan Walker), one of their core seniors was suspended indefinitely (Ish Sanogo) and their star sophomore (Myles Powell) was ejected in the first half after a skirmish underneath the basket that almost escalated into a full-on brawl. While this week won’t go down as one of the banner weeks in Pirates basketball history, the team will enter Big East Conference play in the top 25 as Creighton comes to town on Thursday.
Both Seton Hall Coach Kevin Willard and Manhattan Coach Steve Masiello share a coaching pedigree as both were assistant coaches under Rick Pitino in Louisville. They both have had success at the helm of their respective programs. Today at the Prudential Center, it was a matter of pure talent that Seton Hall had over the Manhattan program. Angel Delgado was dominant again in the middle for the Pirates, notching his 59th double-double of his career with 15 points and 18 rebounds while Desi Rodriguez and Khadeen Carrington both had double figures for the Pirates. Michael Nzei filled in admirably for Sanogo and provided quality defense while posting double figures in points as well. Seton Hall is 7-1 when Nzei scores in double figures.
“Whenever Mike’s in there, he’s been great.”, said Willard, “Whether it’s been twenty minutes a game or whatever, he’s been great.”
The fight that caused the ejection happened underneath the Jaspers basket near the end of the first half. Powell came behind and clipped Manhattan’s Zane Waterman which resulted in blows and pushes for a few moments. The referees went to the monitor and ejected Jaspers guard Rich Williams and the Pirates Powell. Both Delgado and Waterman were assessed technical fouls.
“When you have competitors competing, I’m OK with it.”, said Masiello. “I know they play the game the right way and I hope they feel the same way about us.”
The Jaspers (5-7) were led in points (18) by Waterman who was contained in the first half but found his stroke in the second half. Calvin Crawford had 10 points for Manhattan. The Jaspers open conference play in the MACC against Fairfield on Saturday.
Seton Hall (11-2) once again has a little drama as they approach Big East conference play. The timetable for Sanogo’s return is open-ended and while their won’t be any suspension for Powell, the Pirates ship hit some choppy waters in this past week. The Pirates team and it’s goals of going deep into March rest on Willard and the four seniors righting the ship very soon.
“I’m not a happy camper.”, said Willard about this week. “When it goes off the rails, it’s like getting stabbed in the heart.”