On Saturday in Omaha, the Pirates did not play their best basketball against a Creighton team that was trying to avoid their first five game losing streak since the 1996-97 season. The Bluejays were able to not only hang around, but they outplayed the Pirates at times during the game, but Sterling Gibbs game up big once again.
The CenturyLink Center in Omaha is one of the toughest places, not only in the Big East, but in college basketball, to get a win. Creighton, despite coming in with a 0-3 conference record, were only a one point underdog against the number 19 team in America. The crowd seemed to have an impact at times on the Pirates, but for first time this season in a tough environment, Seton Hall was able to overcome and grow up to win a game.
Coach Kevin Willard said after the game that the performance he saw from the Bluejays was the best he had seen from Coach Greg McDermott’s team this season. He would add that if Creighton was the worst team in the conference that the Big East is one of the best conferences in the country. Seton Hall finally got a solid win on the road against a team that is extremely difficult to defeat, especially in front of over 17,000 fans.
·Seton Hall's defense continued to struggle on the road, allowing Creighton to shoot 51.1 percent from the field.
· Despite the Bluejays losing Austin Chatman, after he played only nine minutes, the Bluejays still found ways to score and the Pirates struggled guarding Creighton's front court.
· For the first time this season, the Pirates stole a game. Will Artino had a 14 point, 11 rebound performance that was enough to win it, but that late shot by Gibbs allowed Seton Hall to snatch victory from the clutches of defeat.
· The Pirates shot 43.1 percent from the field, 34.6 percent from the three point line and 64.3 percent from the free throw line. Those all could have been better, but it was just enough to win it.
· Seton Hall did not guard the three point line very well, which is not normal for this team. Creighton made 40 percent (6-15) of their three pointers and that is how they win their games.
· The Pirates continued to battle on the offensive glass and grabbed some key rebounds that kept possessions alive.
· This was a knockdown, drag out game emotionally for the Pirates. When it seemed as if The Hall had control, Creighton would respond. When the Bluejays had a lead, Seton Hall had an answer. The Pirates really grew up on Saturday.
· As far as responding after a loss, Seton Hall is now 3-0, but they did not play as well as they would have liked against in inferior opponent. They still have things to work out on the road, but they were able to pull it out.
· Another point to consider is the fact that the next time the Pirates hit the road Isaiah Whitehead will likely be able to play. He was solid on the road against teams like Wichita State so his availability will be key, especially away from The Rock.
· What can you say? Sterling Gibbs is making a case for the Big East Player of Year award. He had 22 points and none bigger than his game winning three pointer with 2.2 seconds left in the game. The offense ran through Gibbs and he was as clutch as can be. As Santana Moss said while we was at Miami, "big time players step up in big games." Gibbs is big time. Gibbs is Big East.
· With seven points and nine rebounds, Angel Delgado made big plays on the glass again. When he fouled out with 1:18 to play his presence, or lack thereof, was felt on Artino's put back in the final seconds.
· Senior Brandon Mobley really stepped up in this game. He had nine points and 13 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. Mobley hit important shots as well to keep the Pirates within striking distance. It was good to see him bounce back after fouling out early against Xavier.
· We saw a more aggressive Khadeen Carrington on Saturday in Omaha. The freshman finished with 11 points and three assists. Carrington was able to penetrate and make important shots throughout the game.
· Desi Rodriguez had eight points and an impressive block in transition on Avery Dingman as we was going for a dunk. Rodriguez only had three rebounds, but had another solid road performance.
· After his 10 point outburst against Xavier, Haralds Karlis started again, but really struggled. Karlis was taken out very early in the first half after taking low percentage shots. He looked rattled, but the Pirates do not expect too much from him as far as offense is concerned. The game against Xavier was the exception not the rule.
· Jaren Sina made two three pointers in a row in the second half to help The Hall build a lead. He finished with only nine points and two assists, but showed that he can also rebound after a tough game on the road.
· Lately, it has been the same story with Stephane Manga. He had two points in just 13 minutes and was in there for his defending, which was solid.
Wrapping it all up
The Pirates picked up their first Big East road win of the season and improve to 2-3 on the road overall. Seton Hall’s defense was not great, especially guarding the three point line and Artino inside, but they were able to grind it out. Gibbs provided the magic at the end of the game and stole this important game away from Creighton.
Seton Hall now returns home to play Butler, who is 1-1 on the road in the Big East and 2-2 overall in true road games. The Bulldogs are looking to win two in a row after defeating Xavier at home. The Pirates will look to take the confidence from the Creighton game back home and keep the momentum rolling.
For the Butler game, Seton Hall is back home, but they will once again be without Isaiah Whitehead who looks to return to play DePaul next week. The Pirates have defeated two ranked teams at home without Whitehead and are 8-0 at home on the season. With more solid play from Gibbs, Delgado and Mobley, Seton Hall will be able to defend home court on Tuesday.