By Anthony Rushing
Part of any team's maturation process definitely includes having an awareness of the moment. Seton Hall came into last night tied for third place in the Big East with their opponent, Georgetown. A win for either team would help solidify their resume for March Madness, a loss could serve as a setback to any hopes of an invite to the Big Dance.
Angel Degado went 8 of 12 from the field for 19 points along with 13 rebounds help Seton Hall beat Georgetown 69-61 on a late Saturday night in Newark, New Jersey.
Isaiah Whitehead added 16 points and 11 rebounds, for Seton Hall 17-6, 7-4 Big East), while Derrick Gordon chipped in with 12 points off the bench. Gordon's defense on Georgetown's co-captain D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera proved to also be key in Seton Hall securing the victory. Issac Copeland led Georgetown with 18 points, L.J. Peak added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Hoyas.
The win for the Pirates, their fourth straight, gives them sole possession of third place in the Big East. It's also, arguably, their most impressive win of the season.
This game, especially the first half, wasn't pretty by any means for either team. Georgetown (13-11, 6-5 Big East) turned it over an uncharacteristic 15 times, eight of those coming in the first half. Seton Hall struggled to find the range in the first half, going only 1 for 9 from the three-point line. The Pirates, despite their struggles, were able to use their hustle on defense to help create offense for them. Seton Hall would go into halftime with a one point lead over the Hoyas.
In the second half, the battle-tested Hoyas would give Seton Hall all they could handle. Georgetown pulled to within two of the Pirates, with 5:04 left, after a Bradley Hayes jumper. Whitehead, however, drained a three which led to a time out called by Hoyas coach John Thompson III. The Pirates would go on to win the free throw battle, eventually icing the game at the line.
This game was a reminder to the old days of the Big East. It was gritty, the referees let both teams bang away at each other under the basket. Every point was hard-earned by both teams. Gordon came off the bench for Seton Hall and continues to bring energy, maturity, and added stability that was missing from Seton Hall a year ago. His defense on Smith-Rivera was key in helping lift the Pirates to victory last night. The Georgetown senior guard and co-captain finished with only 11 points on 4 for 10 shooting.