Friday, February 24, 2017

Seton Hall looks to continue its recent success at DePaul

                                                    Photo Credit: Asbury Park Press

Momentum can be something special to carry, especially as March Madness looms for the Seton Hall Pirates.

Like last season, Seton Hall is putting together another string of impressive wins in the latter part of Big East play.

With wins against potential NCAA Tournament teams like Creighton and Xavier in the last week, Seton Hall will look to ride the momentum into Allstate Arena on Saturday at DePaul, who squeaked by Georgetown, 67-65 on Feb. 22.

DePaul’s 2-13 record in Big East play can be downplayed given its losses have come to Villanova, St. John’s, Butler and Georgetown, with those coming by less than six points and being within a possession with under a minute to play.

“Anytime you preach certain things, whether it might be, the point is always proven greater and has much more impact when you win a game,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said in Thursday's Big East teleconference.

“We have been close enough on a number of occasions, where we have had those opportunities to finish things off and to win one makes the process become more clearer. We will continue to scratch, claw and fight given it is the dog days of February.”

Despite Isaiah Whitehead’s early entry into the NBA Draft last season, the Pirates have continued to march on with Angel Delgado and Khadeen Carrington as the one-two-punch, but the straw that stirs the drink is senior Madison Jones.

While Jones’ numbers do not alert All-American status, he serves as the ultimate five-tool player who can do a little bit of everything with 5.6 points per game, 3.5 APG and 2.6 RPG in 27 games this season.

“(Madison) has done a fantastic job of working with these guys on a daily basis to pick their brains on a daily basis and see when they want the ball on the break and not every kid comes in and does that,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “He’s really worked hard to help these guys become better players.”

Despite a 3-6 mark in Big East play in the first half, the Pirates have turned the corner with four wins in their last six games.

“I think our offensive players attacking this part of the schedule has been really important,” Willard said.

“I think they understood that they would go through tough stretches at times, especially in the middle of the conference schedule with more home games towards the latter part of the season. It was a chance for us to get some good momentum and have come with a good work ethic. In this conference, you have to take advantage of all of the opportunities given to you.”

Game Information:

Seton Hall (17-10, 7-8 Big East) at DePaul (9-19, 2-13 Big East)

Time: Saturday, 1 p.m.

TV/Online: Fox Sports Networks/Fox Sports Go

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.