Third time is the charm for Kevin Willard and his merry band of buccaneers as Seton Hall finally get over the hump with a win today in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against the ninth seeded NC State Wolf Pack. Along with this being Willard’s first tournament win at the helm of Seton Hall, it is also their first win in the tournament since 2004 when they downed ninth seeded Arizona in the Round of 64. The Hall also buries the shock and despair from last year’s controversial exit at the hands of Arkansas which may have served as motivation for the way the Pirates played today against NC State.
The way that Seton Hall got to business today was with a extremely motivated course of action. With Desi Rodriguez close to 100%, the Pirates had a scoring option that they desperately missed in previous weeks, and the senior guard got things going early. They also capitalized heavily on a number of wasteful NC State possessions early in both halves as the Wolf Pack tried every which way to get back into the game. For their credit they would come ever so close to tying the game up but every time they had the lead in their sights, the Pirates would go on a scoring run and push that opportunity further from the Wolfpack’s grasp.
The anchor in this one for Seton Hall was Khadeen Carrington who lead the way with 26 points quickly establishing himself on the court. He was not the only option though this late afternoon for the Pirates as they had a bevy of scoring options coming from Desi Rodriguez with 20 points, Myles Powell with 19, Angel Delgado with 13, and rounding out the options was Ismael Sanogo with 10 points.
On another note Delgado had a interesting day which along with his scoring had a bit of a scare with his shoulder and also got tangled into foul trouble fouling out, though he was not the only Pirate today to foul out as Sandro Mamukelashvili fouled out as well with not much production on the court.
As a team, Seton Hall shot the ball today at a rate of 48% from the field, 33% from three point range, and 79% from the foul line. Foul shooting will be something that they will have to keep an eye on as they go further along in the tournament given that it could be crucial in the end.
On the NC State side of things. There production today was uneven with a small group of players sharing the burden of the points while much of the roster either found themselves in foul trouble or just plain fouled out. At the end of the full forty, three players had fouled out and another two were sitting on four fouls. Not at all good if you want to advance let alone trying to match a well rounded salvo of shooting from the Pirates. The leading scorer today by far was Allerik Freeman who posted a fantastic 36 point game. Joining his efforts was Torin Dorn who posted a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, Lennard Freeman had a 13 point game, and Markell Johnson had a 12 point game but often felt a lot more in the mix over the course of the game.
As a team NC State shot the ball at a rate of 46% from the field, 37% from three point range, and a rather dismal 59% from the foul line. It was safe to say not exactly the best of days for charity from either team.
With this done and dusted, Seton Hall now march onto the Round of 32 where the blue blood Jayhawks await their arrival in a pseudo home game in Wichita. Hopefully The Hall keep this going when considering the prestige of this senior class and their absence looming.