No. 22 Seton Hall expected big things after returning 90 percent of its scoring and rebounding from a team that won 21 games last season, and the Pirates open the NIT Season Tip-Off Thursday in Brooklyn, N.Y., against Rhode Island unbeaten in four games. A trio of Pirates lead the charge offensively as Khadeen Carrington, Angel Delgado and Desi Rodriguez each have surpassed 1,000 career points, and several reserves played well in Saturday’s 82-53 victory over New Jersey Tech.
“The other guys gave us a lot of energy,” Rodriguez told reporters after scoring 19 points in the victory. “Our starters were sluggish today and they came and picked us up and ran up the score.” The Rams have won two of their first three games, rebounding from a loss to Nevada to defeat Holy Cross 88-66 on Sunday. Andre Berry scored a career-high 20 points in the victory and Rhode Island played solidly, recording 22 assists and 13 steals with only nine turnovers. “Any win that we get this year – and hopefully, there are going to be a lot of them – is a great win,” Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley told the media afterward.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT SETON HALL (4-0): Rodriguez leads the Pirates in scoring at 17 points per game, helping to lead an offense scoring 82.8 points per contest. Delgado, who averaged 13.1 rebounds per game last season, is averaging 12.8 points and 8.5 rebounds through four games. Carrington, who led the Pirates in scoring at 17.1 points per game last season, has made a smooth transition to point guard, averaging 5.3 assists and 1.5 steals to go with 12 points per game.
ABOUT RHODE ISLAND (2-1): The Rams are averaging 84.3 points per game so far, using a four-guard starting lineup to push the tempo. Jared Terrell equaled his career high with 25 points against Holy Cross and has scored 49 points in his past two games after being held to six points in the season opener. That guard play is important with E.C. Matthews, who has scored 1,547 career points, sidelined for six weeks with a fractured wrist.
1. Rhode Island has forced an average of 19.3 turnovers per game and has caused at least 14 turnovers in every game so far this season.
2. Seton Hall freshman F Sandro Mamukelashvili blocked four shots against NJIT, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
3. Thursday’s winner faces either Vanderbilt or Virginia on Friday.
PREDICTION: Seton Hall 81, Rhode Island 76