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The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 9, 2017

February 9, 2017 The Morning Dish No Comments

Seton Hall started off Wednesday making news for reasons any school would rather not, and just over midway through the first half of its game against Providence on Wednesday, the news wasn’t looking very good, either.

The Pirates were down 15 points to the Friars after just 11 minutes of play, but the Hall’s day got better soon after. Seton Hall pulled within two points by halftime, withstood a nip-and-tuck second half to get to overtime, and then received a game-winning jumper by Myles Powell with eight seconds left in the extra period for a key 72-70 win.

Seton Hall got yet another big game from big man Angel Delgado, who piled up 19 points and 15 rebounds and has emerged as a senior as the best post player in the Big East. Delgado has taken a backseat to just about no one this season as a double-double threat (now at 18, tied for second-most in the country behind only Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan). Khadeen Carrington also had 21 smooth points, while Powell added 14 off the bench for a thin team that basically used a six-man rotation for the entire game.

It may be too much to say Wednesday’s game was a must-win for the Pirates, especially given a bubble this year where 13-10 teams are considered 10 seeds in bracket projections in early February (yuck). But with a tricky road game at St. John’s next, a three-game homestand following against Creighton, Villanova and Xavier, plus a game at Butler to close out the regular season, Seton Hall can’t afford to miss out on taking winnable games.

The win came after news earlier in the day that backup point guard Jevon Thomas had left the team, as announced by the school in a release. Thomas was a transfer from Kansas State who was once expected to challenge for a starting job at the point, but he missed the first semester due to a suspension after an incident at an intramural game a year ago, and he was playing just over 10 minutes per game since returning.

For Providence, this was undoubtedly a missed opportunity. The Friars had a legitimate chance to get into the NCAA Tournament discussion with a win, but instead dropped to 14-11. They still could, especially with a schedule that includes four of the next five at home, but the margin of error keeps getting thinner for PC to play its way in from the outside, a task made tougher when it just might be fighting teams like Seton Hall for a spot in the field.

Side Dishes:

  • Hoopville czar Phil Kasiecki and Ted Sarandis recorded their latest podcast, posted yesterday for your enjoyment.
  • Minnesota avoided what could’ve been a demoralizing home loss, finally defeating Iowa 101-89 in double overtime after losing a 14-point second half lead. The Golden Gophers now have played four OT games in the Big Ten this season, but at 17-7 have rebounded from a five-game losing streak and are still sitting good for the NCAA Tournament barring a late collapse. Jordan Murphy had 25 points and 19 rebounds for the Gophers.
  • What’s up with all the overtimes lately? Minnesota/Iowa wasn’t even close to the longest game of the night-that was in Laramie, where Wyoming outlasted Fresno State 102-100 in four overtimes. This is a game that was tied 65-65 at the end of regulation. The Cowboys have to be on those lists of biggest surprises this year, now 16-9 overall and in the middle of the Mountain West.
  • Miami (Fla.) held off Virginia Tech 74-68 for its fourth win in five games. Davon Reed scored 18 points and every one of his shots was from three-point range (where he was 4-for-8) or the free throw line (6 of 6).
  • Florida State blew away North Carolina State 95-71, with Jonathan Isaac leading the ridiculously deep Seminoles with 21 points. The Wolfpack, meanwhile, are looking destined to be an NIT team.
  • Baylor continues to live on the edge. The Bears had a 13-point lead with just over four minutes to play, yet still had to sweat out two Oklahoma State shots to tie in the final seconds, finally prevailing 72-69. Jonathan Motley was big with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Cincinnati just keeps rolling, whether the games be high scoring or low. The Bearcats tipped Central Florida 60-50, never trailing in winning their 15th straight.
  • George Mason had alternated wins and losses for its previous 11 games, meaning it was due for a loss at Davidson on Wednesday. The Patriots disrupted that, winning 76-69 on the road.
  • It was a wacky night in the Atlantic 10. A wild finish in D.C. saw VCU pull off an improbable 54-53 win at George Washington. Yuta Watanabe hit a three-pointer from the corner with 0.4 seconds left to put the Colonials ahead, but before the ensuing inbounds play after a timeout the Rams coaxed GW into bowling over a screener, allowing JeQuan Lewis to make two free throws to win the game. Also in western New York, St. Bonaventure topped Saint Louis 70-55, but the Billikens’ adventure was just starting as their bus driver took off without the team and was on the loose, eventually stopped by state troopers after initially refusing to pull over and charged with DWI.
  • The Missouri Valley is once again a mess in the middle. Northern Iowa outlasted Southern Illinois 49-41 in an every-possession-counts grinder, and with those two now tied for third in the MVC at 7-6, a total of six teams are separated by just two games in positions 3-8 in the league.
  • If you’re looking for a trendy sleeper to win its conference tournament in March, Lehigh in the Patriot League is as good a pick as any. Austin Price scored 25 and Tim Kempton added 24 and 11 boards as the Mountain Hawks upended Bucknell 79-71 to stop the Bison’s seven-game winning streak.

Tonight’s Menu:

  • Of course, the heavy of the night is the resumption of the storied North Carolina/Duke rivalry, this one at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Throw out the record books (7 p.m. Eastern, ESPN).
  • Purdue and Indiana was once one of the great rivalries in the sport before the Big Ten became more concerned with building a television network than maintaining a great conference. It’s still a good state rivalry, though, and the Hoosiers need a win badly at home in their first meeting this season (7 p.m., ESPN2).
  • Winthrop and UNC Asheville has become the premier current series in the Big South, and the homestanding Bulldogs look to avenge a narrow loss in their first meeting. UNCA has even brought out Richard Petty to help hype this one. When The King is on board, you know it’s a big game (7 p.m., ESPNU).
  • The third tri-leader in the Big South is surprising Liberty, which has a good road test going to Gardner-Webb.
  • A key game in the Southern Conference has defending champion Tennessee-Chattanooga looking to climb back into a tie for first place if it can win at current leader Furman.
  • First place in the Atlantic Sun is on the line too when leader Florida Gulf Coast hosts Lipscomb, one game back behind the Eagles.
  • Second place in the Big Sky is at stake with Eastern Washington at North Dakota. Many points will be scored. Both enter the night 1 1/2 games behind leader Weber State, which is on the road at Sacramento State.
  • Oregon is at UCLA in the rematch of one of the season’s best games to date, with the Bruins looking to avenge a loss to the Quack Attack in the first meeting (9 p.m. ESPN).
  • Wisconsin puts its seven-game winning streak on the line at Nebraska (9 p.m., Big Ten Network).
  • Vermont gets a much-deserved national TV date, hosting New Hampshire (9 p.m., ESPNU).
  • New Mexico State holds a 19-game winning streak but now begins its toughest weekend of WAC play, first traveling to face defending tourney champion Cal State Bakersfield. The Roadrunners are lurking just one game in the loss column behind the Aggies in the WAC standings.

Do enjoy your Thursday.

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