By John Fanta
Newark — Kevin Willard turned to Khadeen Carrington earlier this week and spoke to him with the same trust that the Seton Hall head coach has had in his star throughout the senior’s career.
“I told him yesterday in practice he has to have the same confidence in his jump shot that I do,” said the eighth-year Pirate coach. “I think it’s going in every time he shoots it, and he’s got to keep shooting it.”
Carrington took those words and turned them into a stellar performance, scoring a team-high 23 points on 9-of-14 from the field to go with seven assists in a 73-57 Pirate rout of Providence on Wednesday at The Rock.
“It felt really good to do that tonight,” said Carrington. “I just looked to get my teammates involved early, and everybody fed off of that.”
The seven assists were a BIG EAST season high for the Brooklyn native.
Not only did he control the game offensively, but Carrington spearheaded one of The Hall’s sharpest defensive efforts of the season.
Having averaged 16 points and eight assists in his last three games, Kyron Cartwright was silenced on Wednesday, going scoreless.
“The biggest thing is we wanted to try to make it hard early on for Cartwright and try to clog up the lane as much as possible.”
SHU held Providence to just 22-of-57 (39%) from the field and 2-of-17 (12%) from three-point land.
Beyond Carrington, it was a ho-hum for the Pirates’ senior corps.
After he was honored before tip-off with a commemorative ball for breaking the BIG EAST’s all-time rebounding record, Angel Delgado compiled 13 points and 14 boards for his 66th career double-double. Desi Rodriguez had 16 points on 6-of-12 from the field.
In a game the Pirates needed to cap the first half of BIG EAST play in a comfortable spot, they didn’t let Providence see the light of day. At 6-3 in the league and 15-6 overall, Willard’s satisfied.
“I’m pretty happy on where we stand,” he said. “My seniors understand the importance of taking it one game at a time, and we’ve gone about this process very well.”
The 6-3 start to conference action is the best for the Pirates since 2006.
Their biggest challenge lies ahead, as The Hall visits No. 1 Villanova on Super Bowl Sunday at Noon ET. The game will be shown nationally on FOX.
Providence visits Marquette in a game between two teams who will be looking to bounce back on Saturday at 2:30 PM ET in Milwaukee on FS1.
Follow @John_Fanta and @NCAAHoopsDigest for coverage all season.