2/7/16

Keeping it 100: Seton Hall Defeats Georgetown in the 100th Game of Their Big East Rivalry

    (Isaiah Whitehead/josh adams) 


By Anthony Rushing

@AnthonySJD 

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. 

"We understood what kind of game this was going to be," Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard said afterwards. "I thought the kids did a good job of adjusting and playing. I just thought it was a good basketball game."

Delgado delivered another strong performance for the Pirates last night, he continues to play with supreme confidence on the court. The sophomore center's 19 points and 13 rebounds gave him his fourth consecutive double-double. 

"I thought Angel was huge down low," Willard said about the performance of his big man. "I thought John (Thompson III) did a great job of bringing in (Jessie) Govan and Hayes to wear him down. I give the big guy credit. He didn't wear down, he just kept playing and playing."

Thompson III, afterwards, was complimentary of Delgado's play.

"He played very well tonight, that second half he pretty much controlled," said Thompson III. "That was the difference, he was the difference. That second half of his, the timeliness of when he made plays was what got them over the hump."

For Thompson III and his Georgetown team, this loss hangs a large cloud over their hopes of securing an NCAA tournament bid. Seton Hall, meanwhile, could very well find themselves nationally ranked again after this.  The Pirates look every bit of a team deserving of an invite to the Big Dance in March. 

2/6/16

Freeman Powers Old Dominion Past Charlotte, 74-69

Charlotte guard Jon Davis drains a free throw in Saturday night's game.  (Brian Wilmer/CHD)
Brian Wilmer


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Accentuate the positive.

Easier said than done, sure, but Charlotte coach Mark Price is gradually finding ways to do so.  Admittedly, Price’s team struggled to contain Old Dominion redshirt senior Trey Freeman – he hit the final shot of regulation to send the game to overtime, among many others – but Price is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

“I was proud of our guys.  We bounced out of it, snapped out of it,” said Price of his team’s struggles and their eventual bouncing back from a slow first half.  “We just didn’t have any answers for him (Freeman) tonight.  He was unbelievable.”

Freeman’s 38 points paced the visiting Monarchs, leading Old Dominion to a 74-69, overtime victory over Charlotte at Halton Arena on Saturday night.

#3 Terps Survive a Battle With #18 Purdue: Maryland Prevails 72-61


Robert Carter Jr. Had 19 Points vs. Purdue/washingtonpost.com

by Terry Cook
@OccupyEutawSt

College Park, MD-- The Terps returned home to the friendly (and sold out) confines of the Xfinity Center after being on the road for 2 highly contested wins against Ohio State and Nebraska.  Awaiting them was the #18 ranked Purdue Boilermakers.

Coach Mark Turgeon openly admitted that his team, which included him as well, was very tired after the stretch of games they've had.  

Odd that he said this, as the starting 5 accounted for 85% of the playing time tonight, and 93% of the offense.  Only Damonte Dodd and Jared Nickens played more than 10 minutes off the bench, and Nickens had the only 2 bench points.

All told, only 5 Terps scored from the floor.

Both teams started the first half rather sluggish, with each side letting their bigs do the scoring. 7 foot Center A.J. Hammond of the Boilermakers had 10 points, and Terps F Robert Carter Jr had 11, of which 9 were off of 3 pointers.  In fact, the Terps were 3/12 from 3 in the first half, with Carter accounting for all 3.  At one point in the first half, Maryland went nearly 6 minutes without scoring a point...a recurring theme.

Purdue took a 30-27 lead into the half in front of an uneasy crowd.

Uneasy as they were, Terps fans are used to their home team fighting tough battles on a nightly basis.  In a game that saw 3 ties and 11 lead changes, Purdue still held the lead with about 5 minutes to play.  It was at this point a sequence of events would turn the tide for Maryland for good. 

A couple of back to back misses by Purdue, coupled with a turnover and a foul, helped Maryland compile a 25-10 run to close the game in the final minutes, and eventually, pull away.

While the Terps offense wasn't stellar tonight, their game plan of pounding the ball inside to get to the free throw line, continues to work.

The Terps were able to get themselves into the bonus shots with about 8 minutes to play.  One thing an opposing team doesn't want to do is get into a free throw battle with Maryland.  Tonight they shot 24/27 from the charity stripe, while Purdue only ATTEMPTED 5 free throws.  Easily the deciding factor tonight, and any night in a close victory.

Senior G Rasheed Sulaimon continues to show up in #B1G games, however he's most needed.  Aside from his leadership, which I've written about countless times, tonight his defense was stellar, and he chipped in his first career double double with 21 points and 10 rebound performance.

Coach Turgeon had this to say about Sulaimon, "He's such a smart player, he helps me coach the team."

Melo Trimble finished the game with 14 points, albeit on 2/12 shooting from the floor, but again, he hit his free throws down the stretch to seal the game as he always does.

Freshman stud C Diamond Stone was inserted into the starting lineup tonight, and he produced 12 points with 6 rebounds and 2 steals.  His defense continues to improve every game, and he was praised by coaches and players after the game.

Jake Layman continues to disappear in big situations.  He plays great defense...but so does walk-on Varun Ram.  Layman was 0/3 from the floor, and clearly avoided contact or passed when in tight spots under the basket.  Fans continue to be frustrated with his play, though coaches and players praise his work ethic.  At some point, that's just not going to be enough.

On a night when the Terps relied heavily on their starters, didn't shoot the ball well (40%), were again abysmal from 3 (Robert Carter had all 4 of the Terps' 3 pointers, the rest of the team was 0/12), Maryland found a way to win another close conference game.  

Defense was praised all around by players and coaches after the win, but a poignant statement by Turgeon said it all about his team. 

"I have been doing this a long time.  I have had really good defensive teams, but right now we are playing at a level that I don't know if I have seen as a head coach."

That's a huge compliment to a team that has prided itself on defense all season.

Next up for the Terps is a bit of a breather at home on Tuesday vs Bowie State before finishing out their final 6 #B1G games.

Purdue will be at home on Tuesday vs Michigan State...talk about the teeth of your schedule!