If you were looking for a weird basketball game to watch, this was definitely it.
For all the storylines and hype that surround Seton Hall, with the prolific double-double machine that is Angel Delgado, those sort of hit an aberration tonight.
The same can be said for Creighton, with their newfound double-double machine in Martin Krampelj, who fell to his own aberration tonight.
What we got, however, was set in stone from the jump. The bizarre coaching from Kevin Willard. Myles Powell splashing threes. Marcus Foster catching fire. Khyri Thomas doing a damned good job playing some defense.
Mixed within this potent cocktail of psychedelic basketball was the adventure into the depths of Greg McDermott’s bench, the disappearance of Desi Rodriguez, the coming out party for Jordan Walker.
Creighton started this game off with a 20-4 run. That’s on the 19th ranked team in the country, mind you, but it was a thumping that, eventually, Seton Hall came back from. Creighton mounted this lead thanks in part to some high percentage shots from Khyri Thomas and some bombastic three pointers from Marcus Foster.
At one point, Creighton was shooting 80% from the field, nearly perfect on their two-pointers. That trend eventually corrected itself, the Jays cooled, and Seton Hall marched their way back into the game.
To aid the Seton Hall comeback was the departure of the ‘let it play’ attitude the refs held for the first half of the... first half, where the stoppages in play began to favor the Pirates. Khyri Thomas and Marcus Foster were sat down with two fouls of their own, forcing McDermott’s hand in putting out a lineup of Kaleb Joseph, Tyshon Alexander, Mitchell Ballock, Ronnie Harrell, and TOBY! Hegner.
With this stunted lineup in, Seton Hall ran and stopped, and had dwindled the Bluejay lead to single digits. They did this with Myles Powell and Ismael Sanogo doing a lion’s share of the scoring. Angel Delgado disappeared into the void with some foul trouble as well.
To add to the insult of giving up the lead, Bluejay center Martin Krampelj went to the locker room after acquiring his second personal foul, with an apparent knee injury.
The Bluejays limped into the half with just a seven point lead, the Pirates with all the momentum.
Then, the second half commenced. Khyri and Marcus returned, and Marcus rained down hellfire from beyond the arc. Myles Powell did the same, trying his damndest to keep up, yet the onslaught was far too much for the Pirates to handle.
Delgado began to grow frustrated. It was clear that his inability to persist past the double team was going to trouble him a great deal, so he took out his frustrations in the most reasonable way possible - elbowing Toby Hegner in the gut.
He got called for a flagrant foul for that one, yet this occurred when the game was slip sliding away.
Ronnie Harrell, as he trailblazed his way to stuffing the stat sheet with points, rebounds and assists, did something so spectacular that it transcended my basic understanding of things that can be done by a human being. On a fastbreak he drove to the bucket with just Myles Powell in his way. Powell committed to playing Ronnie, so Ronnie took him to the tin, going behind the back, sending Powell tumbling to his knees, and laid it in. Smooth as silk.
Ronnie said that this play was, “Cool.”
See for yourself:
Ronnie finished with 18 points - a career high.
From that point on the team hit another level. Marcus Foster nailed a three to get their pizza points at 75. Desi Rodriguez watched it all from the bench, his team getting utterly destroyed on the road in the BIG EAST.
With three minutes left, with a 20+ point lead, McDermott deployed his bench. Jordan Scurry entered the fray. Manny Suarez canned a three pointer. All said, it was a straight up thumping.
With everyone wondering where Desi Rodriguez went in the second half, Kevin Willard offered this:
Kevin Willard on Desi Rodriguez:— Chris McManus (@ChrisSHUhoops) January 18, 2018
"He’s been playing so well, so many minutes, he had that look on his face that he just didn’t want to be out there. When he gets that way, you just kind of let him regroup and refocus, and it just didn't happen [for him]." #shbb
Desi Rodriguez then countered with this tweet:
Haha really funny , why wouldn’t I want to be out there battling with my guys I love these dudes they are my brothers , we will be just fine trust me ✊— Desi Rodriguez (@desirodriguez6) January 18, 2018
Whether this is another sign of Willard losing control of his team, a tale we’ve read multiple times, or if it’s just a blip in a long and frustrating season in conference play, the Pirates are suddenly lost when road games roll around.
Angel Delgado simply offered this:
Unbelievable— Angel Delgado (@angelluis45) January 18, 2018
Meanwhile, the status on Martin Krampelj is still to be determined. Coach McDermott said that an MRI will be done on Thursday, and that the knee that Krampelj injured was the same one he injured previous to his redshirt freshman season with the Jays.
Marcus Foster managed to surpass 1,000 points in a Creighton uniform. With the 875 points he had with Kansas State, there’s a pretty good chance he surpasses 2,000 points as a collegiate basketball player.