After 20 minutes of play at Prudential Center on Saturday night, the Seton Hall Pirates held just a 39-30 lead over the NJIT Highlanders.
The feeling amongst Pirate fans? Not good.
Their spirits were lifted quickly after the Pirates outscored NJIT 43-23 in the second half to take down the Highlanders by a score of 82-53.
However, questions after the game centered around the Pirates’ star big-man Angel Delgado, who was limited to just 16 minutes on the night. Only two of which came in the second half. Head coach Kevin Willard said that Delgado was limited due to him tweaking his calf early in the game.
Logging those minutes in Delgado’s place was freshman Sandro Mamukelashvili. Mamukelashvili totaled 11 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes of play. The 6’10” freshman from the Republic of Georgia was one of four Pirates to score in double figures tonight.
Desi Rodriguez led the way in scoring, again, putting up 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting. Myles Powell (13 pts) as well as Myles Cale (11 pts) also put up double figures.
For NJIT, Abdul Lewis was the only Highlander to reach double figures, totaling 10 points and just five rebounds in a quiet performance.
Seton Hall’s freshmen continue to be extremely impressive
Cale put up yet another double-digit points performance, and continues to display his ability as a slasher who can get to the basket and absorb contact. Mamukelashvili took advantage of his playing time tonight, as his production gives Seton Hall tons of depth in the frontcourt.
Injuries are piling up
Along with Willard addressing Delgado’s calf injury, which he described as “minor,” it was also reported that freshman guard Jordan Walker will miss the next three weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb. What started as a sprain has now resulted in Walker being sidelined until the end of non-conference play. Eron Gordon will now fill the backup role at point guard behind Khadeen Carrington, who is still getting his feet wet at the position.
The Pirates are a great second half team
Over their last two games, the Pirates have outscored their opponents 94-59 in the second half. However, in both of these games, the team looked a little lackluster in the first half. This is something they need to clean up as they enter the toughest stretch of their non-conference slate.
That stretch of games begins on Thanksgiving night against Rhode Island in the NIT Tip-Off. After that comes matchups against Vanderbilt/Virginia, Texas Tech (@MSG), AT Louisville, and VCU.