Rodriguez rallies Seton Hall past Creighton
NEWARK, N.J. — Creighton coach Greg McDermott said he looks forward to when No. 23 Seton Hall’s trio of seniors graduates next spring. After what Desi Rodriguez, Angel Delgado and Khadeen Carrington did to No. 25 Creighton on Thursday, one can’t blame McDermott.
Rodriguez scored 23 points, Delgado recorded the 60th double-double of his career with 18 points and 14 rebounds and Carrington controlled the offense while pouring in 18 points in the Pirates’ 90-84 win in the Big East Conference opener for both teams at the Prudential Center.
Seton Hall (12-2, 1-0 Big East) trailed by as many as 13 points early in the second half. The Bluejays went the final 3:32 without a basket.
Martin Krampelj led Creighton (10-3, 0-1) with a career-high 23 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. Marcus Foster chipped in with 14 points, Khyri Thomas had 13 points and Davion Mintz added 10.
“I’m ready for those guys to graduate,” said McDermott of Rodriguez, Delgado and Carrington. “I might come to their graduation and congratulate them.”
The Seton Hall trio is 6-2 against Creighton.
The Pirates outscored the Bluejays 48-31 in the second half, holding them to 41 percent from the floor and forcing three turnovers in the last three minutes.
“Obviously we didn’t have an answer for them (Seton Hall) in the second half,” McDermott admitted. “We probably waited a little too long to go to the (1-3-1) zone that knocked them out of rhythm a little bit.
“They did a good job of attacking us. We don’t turn the ball over and we had nine turnovers in the second half and some of those led to baskets on the other end.”
Seton Hall scored 22 points off Creighton mistakes — 15 in the second half.
“The biggest thing was in the second half we did a better job of trying to get them (Creighton) to shoot jump shots,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “They had too many easy layups in the first half that were deflating the crowd and us a team.
“Even though they are a good shooting team, you can’t let (Martin) Krampelj keep dunking the basketball.”
Carrington’s leaner in traffic gave the lead to Seton Hall at 85-84 with 2:05 to play. Michael Nzei (14 rebounds) extended the advantage to 86-84 with a free throw.
Delgado scored off an offensive rebound to give Seton Hall an 81-78 edge with 5:49 to go. His two free throws moved the Pirates’ lead to 83-78 as part of a 14-2 run over 3:35. He fouled out with 3:08 to play and Seton Hall trailing 84-83.
“The first thing he (Delgado) said was maybe now we can stop the pick-and-roll and the second thing he said was we aren’t losing this game,” remarked Willard. “Do what you have to do to win this game.
“I thought he showed great leadership for not being in the game.”
A pair of free throws from Rodriguez trimmed Creighton’s lead to 76-75 with 7:20 to go, part of a 6-0 burst. His layup gave the Pirates their first lead (77-76) since early in the game.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Carrington and Myles Powell (17 points) brought Seton Hall to within 63-60 at the 14:43 mark.
Foster’s coast-to-coast layup at the halftime buzzer provided Creighton with a 53-42 cushion. Foster led the Bluejays with 12 points in the first half, shooting 6 of 9.
Seton Hall led for only 1:03 early in the half.
The Bluejays scored seven consecutive points in just over a minute to grab a 45-35 lead with 3:12 to go in the half. Foster was responsible for four of those points on two layups.
A 6-0 run gave the Bluejays a 21-15 lead, their largest to that point, with 10:32 remaining in the half. Krampelj and Ronnie Harrell accounted for all of the points.
Foster left the court after tweaking his right knee with 16:39 left in the half and Creighton leading 11-6. He returned at the 11:18 mark and his team on top 19-15.
NOTES: Creighton G Marcus Foster is the Big East Player of the Week and G Mitch Ballock is the Freshman of the Week for averaging 24 points and 13.5 points, respectively. ... This was the first time a ranked Seton Hall team faced a fellow ranked opponent since Jan. 21, 2001, when then-No. 18 Seton Hall knocked off then-No. 8 Syracuse.