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Pirates use second half surge to down Creighton

The Pirates were able to storm back from an 11-point halftime deficit

NCAA Basketball: Creighton at Seton Hall Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Seton Hall used a monster second half push to take down No. 25 Creighton by a score of 90-84 in the teams’ Big East opener at Prudential Center.

Creighton got off to a strong start out of the gates in Newark, playing their typical brand of fast-paced basketball. It propelled them to a 53-point first half, including shooting a healthy 54 percent from the floor.

Marcus Foster, Khyri Thomas and Martin Krampelj would all score in double digits in the first half as the Bluejays would take a 53-42 lead into the locker room.

Pirates fans will begrudgingly recall the first half of the game against Rhode Island in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Brooklyn. In that game, the Rams shot 61 percent in the first half, putting up 54 points in the first 20 minutes. This one had a similar feel, however Pirates fans would hope the team would flip the script and escape with a win.

The Pirates have always been a stronger second half team, and they showed that again Thursday. Trailing by as many as 13 in the second half, the Pirates locked down defensively, allowing their offense chances to chip away at the lead.

The Pirates were able to close the gap to just one point after a 12-3 run made it a 63-62 game with 13:34 remaining. However, after Delgado sat down with foul trouble, Creighton would go on an 8-2 run to take an eight point lead at 73-65 with 10:55 left.

The Pirates would not back down. A 14-5 run over the next four minutes would give Seton Hall a 79-78 lead, and the teams would trade blows down the stretch.

The Pirates would lose Delgado in the late stages of the second half after he picked up his fifth foul with Creighton leading 84-83. However, the tandem of Ismael Sanogo and Michael Nzei stood up defensively, as did the rest of the Pirates, as they would hold Creighton scoreless for the final 3:32 en route to the victory.

All five Pirates starters made significant contributions, with four of them scoring in double figures, led by Desi Rodriguez’s 23 points. Angel Delgado picked up his 60th career double-double, finishing with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Michael Nzei pulled down 14 boards of his own in 26 minutes.

Marcus Foster was held to 14 points on 7-for-15 shooting and 0-for-4 from deep, while Khyri Thomas collected 13 points to go along with seven boards and six dimes. Martin Krampelj had a night down low, tying the game high with 23 points as well as 10 rebounds.

Seton Hall is now 4-1 in Big East openers since conference realignment and is off to a 12-2 start for the third time in the last four seasons.

Both teams will hit the hardwood next on New Year’s Eve at their respective home arenas. Creighton will fly back to Omaha to host Providence (2:30 ET, FS1) while Seton Hall will stay at the Prudential Center to take on St. John’s (5 ET, FS1).