One week ago, Seton Hall took the floor at Madison Square Garden against St. John's. The Hall got out to a big first half lead, and then crumbled in the second half, letting St. John's grab the lead at one point, before ultimately pulling out a 62-61 victory.
Sunday afternoon at the Prudential Center, Seton Hall took the floor against the (#5) Xavier Musketeers. The Hall got out to a big first half lead, and, destined to not let history repeat itself, kept their foot on the gas throughout the second half, upsetting the Musketeers by a 90-81 margin.
It was Seton Hall's first win over a top 5 team since they defeated Villanova in the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament, and just their second such win since 2000.
Desi Rodriguez led the Pirates with a career-high 27 points, while adding 12 rebounds. Seton Hall's lone senior, Derrick Gordon, went out in style on senior day, with eight points, six rebounds, and two assists. Isaiah Whitehead had 22 points, with 15 coming in the second half, and four blocks, to continue his great stretch of play.
Meanwhile, for Xavier, Trevon Blueitt and James Farr led the Musketeers with 17 points each, while Farr also added eight rebounds. JP Macura, after having a stretch of big games in conference play, struggled mightily Sunday, with only six points on 2-9 shooting before fouling out.
Here are three things we learned.
This section has layers upon layers of meaning. Named after the Bruce Springsteen hit, "Glory Days" are what Seton Hall calls the throwback uniforms they wore in Sunday's victory. They're now 4-0 this season when wearing said uniforms, with two of the wins being over Wichita State and Xavier.
In addition, the win today all but clinched Seton Hall's ticket to the return of the Glory Days of the NCAA Tournament, a place the Pirates have not been since 2006.
In a year where there's no prohibitive favorite going into the Tournament, Seton Hall's chances are as good as anyone's to make a run.
Xavier is fine
This should go without saying, but they just knocked off the #1 team in the country.
A road loss against a top 30 team that desperately needed a signature win isn't bad. They'll still likely be in the top 5 when Monday's AP Poll comes out, and they still have a grasp on the 2-seed in the BIG EAST Tournament.
Are there things Xavier could work on based on what they saw today? Of course. Seton Hall thrashed the Musketeers in the paint early on, and JP Macura had his share of struggled.
But it's fair to assume Chris Mack and company will get those kinks worked out heading into March.
Seton Hall's victory took them to 21-7 on the season. 21 wins ties a Seton Hall career high for Kevin Willard. With two games to play, the Pirates can't afford to take their foot off the gas. They'll head to Indianapolis to face Butler on Wednesday night before closing the season in Rosemont against DePaul next Saturday.
Xavier, meanwhile, falls to 25-4. They won't take the court again until Saturday, when they'll face Creighton in Cincinnati. If they win that game, Chris Mack will tie his career high for wins in a season, as he went 26-9 in his first season at Xavier in 2009-10.