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Delgado keys No. 15 Seton Hall over Saint Peter’s

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (AP) — After playing solid defense in a win over Virginia Commonwealth last Saturday, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard knew that his 15th-ranked Pirates had to keep up the pressure against old-time New Jersey rival Saint Peter’s.

“I thought if we could get them a little out of a rhythm, we’d be in good shape,” Willard said after his team held the Peacocks to just one field goal among their first 12 shots in an easy 84-61 win at the old Walsh Gym on the campus of Seton Hall.

“We played a little zone to make it difficult for them to shoot,” Willard said. “I loved the way we came out and played defensively.”

The Pirates’ stifling defense enabled them to take an 8-0 lead and cruise from that point on. Seton Hall managed to push Saint Peter’s farther and farther away from the basket with every possession.

“It was the same intensity that we had against VCU,” Willard said.

“Saint Peter’s likes to be able to run their own stuff and we didn’t let them do it,” said senior forward Angel Delgado, who scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, the 57th time in his career that Delgado has registered double figures in both categories. “We pressed. We played zone. They couldn’t run anything.”

“I think we set the tone defensively,” said senior Desi Rodriguez, who continued his fine play with 17 points. “We were able to close out, defend their shots and we were able to make some runs.”

Khadeen Carrington added 11 points and five assists, as Seton Hall (9-1) raced out to an early lead and never looked back, winning for the 20th time in the last 21 meetings against the Peacocks (4-5).

Davauhnte Turner scored 13 points and Nick Griffin had nine to pace Saint Peter’s.

After Elijah Gonzales drained a 3-pointer to pull the Peacocks within 35-23, the Pirates scored the last seven points of the first half, capped by a layup by Delgado with 42 seconds remaining, giving Seton Hall a commanding 42-23 halftime lead. Rodriguez paced the Pirates with 11 first-half points.

Seton Hall scored the first four points after the break to take a 46-23 lead.

Freshman Myles Cale nailed a long 3-pointer, then threw down a monstrous windmill dunk off a steal to push the lead to 61-38, causing Saint Peter’s to call another timeout with 10:29 left.

Seton Hall held a commanding 43-27 advantage on the boards.

Saint Peter’s coach John Dunne came away impressed with the Pirates.

“We had Terry Dehere (Seton Hall’s all-time leading scorer) in for a practice and I said to him that this was the best Seton Hall team since he was there,” Dunne said. “I don’t get overly impressed by watching other teams, but I’m impressed with these guys. They have all the pieces. They play unselfishly and share the ball. They’re legit. It wasn’t like we lost to a bad team. We just got stopped by them from the start.”

OLD-TIME RIVALRY

It was the 88th meeting between the New Jersey rivals, dating to 1931-32. Seton Hall leads the all-time series 64-24 and has won 20 of the last 21 meetings. Saint Peter’s lone win in recent years came in 2013, winning 83-80 in overtime. The programs met every year since the 1949-50 season before taking a one-year hiatus last year.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP

The Pirates are the only Division I team to have three players who have scored 1,000 or more points during their career and all three (Rodriguez, Delgado and Carrington) all reached double figures Tuesday night.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY

Dunne was an assistant coach at Seton Hall from 2001 through 2006 under then-head coach Louis Orr.

DOUBLE TROUBLE

It was the 57th time in Delgado’s Seton Hall career that he collected double figures in points and rebounds, the top figure in the nation. Delgado led the nation in rebounding last season, grabbing 13.1 per game. Delgado is the only active Division I player with more than 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

NATIONAL RANKING

The Pirates’ No. 15 ranking in the latest AP Poll is the highest for the program since Jan. 9, 2001.

THE BIG PICTURE

Seton Hall: Tuesday night marked Seton Hall’s 26th consecutive win against non-conference teams at home. The Pirates improved to 422-142 inside Walsh Gym on the Seton Hall campus. Seton Hall plays its home games at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Saint Peter’s : The young Peacocks return only one key player, graduate student Nick Griffin, from the team that won 23 games and captured the CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship last year. Fellow graduate student Nnamdi Enechionya was also a member of that team that tied the school record for wins in a season.

UP NEXT: The Pirates travel down the New Jersey Turnpike to take on state rival Rutgers in Piscataway on Saturday in the Garden State Hardwood Classic.

The Peacocks stay on the road and head to LIU Brooklyn on Sunday at the Barclays Center.

Four takeaways from No. 21 Xavier’s win over No. 11 Cincinnati

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The latest edition of the Crosstown Shootout was played Saturday afternoon, and the “first punch” was the most decisive as No. 21 Xavier jumped No. 11 Cincinnati from the start and went on to win by the final score of 89-76. Trevon Bluiett, who scored 40 points in last season’s meeting, led the way with 28 and Kerem Kanter added 17 off the bench for the Musketeers. While some Xavier turnovers led to Cincinnati making a run in the second half, the Bearcats were unable to truly threaten the Musketeers down the stretch.

Here are four takeaways from Xavier handing Cincinnati its first loss of the season.

1. Xavier turned the tables after getting dominated on the glass in last season’s meeting.

Given what happened in Cincinnati’s 86-78 win, with Mick Cronin’s team controlling the rebounding department, it wasn’t difficult to figure out what Xavier’s point of emphasis would be going into the rematch. And the Musketeer big men stepped up to the challenge, as Kaiser Gates grabbed ten rebounds while also scoring ten points and Kanter chipped in with 17 points off the bench. Outside of Gates the effort on the glass was a collective one, with Tyrique Jones, Naji Marshall and Sean O’Mara grabbing four rebounds apiece and Quentin Goodin (ten points, eight assists) finishing with five.

In last season’s meeting Cincinnati finished with an offensive rebounding percentage of 47.4 percent, while Xavier managed to grab just 28.1 percent of its misses. Those second chance opportunities made a difference then, and that was the case Saturday afternoon as well. This time around the Bearcats managed to corral just 22.0 percent of its misses, while Xavier finished with an offensive rebounding percentage of 41.9 percent.

2. Cincinnati will need more from Kyle Washington moving forward.

Washington entered Saturday’s game averaging 10.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, and while those numbers are lower than what the fifth-year senior produced in 2016-17 (12.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) he’s still been a consistent contributor for the Bearcats. That was not the case Saturday, as Washington played just 15 minutes and went scoreless (0-for-4 FG) with just two rebounds. Gary Clark and Tre Scott held their own on the boards, grabbing seven rebounds apiece.

That being said, given the number of contributors in the paint for Xavier this was a game where Cincinnati needed more from Washington. He’s certainly capable of better performances, so it would come as no surprise if he were to bounce back from Saturday’s outing in short order.

3. Cincinnati is too talented to settle offensively as it did for much of the first half.

While Xavier’s excellent execution was a big reason why the Musketeers were able to jump out to a big lead, Cincinnati’s offensive issues did not help matters for the visitors. Far too often in the first half the Bearcats settled for challenged shots, on a couple occasions passing up open catch and shoot opportunities to dribble into a tougher shot. Cincinnati was better in this regard in the second half, with Jacob Evans III scoring 22 of his 23 points in the final 20 minutes and Jarron Cumberland (15 points) getting going as well.

If not for the production of Clark (ten first-half points) and Cane Broome (12 first-half points, 16 for the game) in the first half, the outcome could have been much worse for Cincinnati. While Wyoming should be a contender in the Mountain West, Saturday’s game at Xavier was Cincinnati’s first major test of the season. One lesson the Bearcats should take out of this defeat is that they’ve got too much offensive talent to not be “greedy” on offense.

4. Trevon Bluiett looked like his old self after two quiet outings.

After scoring at least 20 points in each of Xavier’s first five games, Bluiett scored a total of 21 points in games against Arizona State and Baylor. Bluiett’s been dealing with a lower back issue dating back to last week’s Las Vegas Invitational, but he looked to have that spring in his step against Cincinnati. Bluiett had it all working in the first half, hitting open jumpers and getting to the basket off the bounce as well.

Bluiett shot 7-for-14 from the field (5-for-10 3PT) and 9-for-11 from the foul line in what was an efficient performance reminiscent of his first five outings this season. When the back isn’t an issue Bluiett is one of the toughest offensive matchups in the country, because of his ability to find and make shots from anywhere on the court.

Brunson leads No 4 Villanova to rout of Penn

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VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — The venue, and its deafening noise, was different, but the result was the same for Villanova. The fourth-ranked Wildcats rolled past yet another Philadelphia opponent.

Jalen Brunson had 17 points to lead five players in double figures as Villanova routed Penn 90-62 on Wednesday night.

Omari Spellman, Mikal Bridges and Phil Bridges added 14 points apiece and Donte DiVincenzo scored 12 for the Wildcats (7-0), who remained undefeated while winning their 19th in a row against Philadelphia Big 5 rivals.

“I don’t like thinking about it,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said of the streak. “We know if you don’t bring it, you’re going to get beat. We never lose respect for those teams.”

The Big 5 also includes Temple, La Salle and Saint Joseph’s.

“They have a degree of confidence in themselves and each other,” Penn coach Steve Donahue said. “All of us (Big 5 coaches) are motivated to reach the bar Jay has set. I do feel we want to end that streak.”

The famed Philadelphia City Series started in 1956, but Wednesday’s game was the first to be played at Jake Nevin Field House. It became the 10th venue for a Big 5 contest, most of which have been held at The Palestra.

A bandbox gym on Villanova’s campus that seats 2,220, Nevin — known as the “Cat House” in its heyday — last hosted a Wildcats game on Jan. 4, 1986. Villanova is playing most of its home games this season at Wells Fargo Center, home court of the 76ers, while its regular on-campus arena gets a makeover.

It was noticeable immediately that with fans practically right on top of the court and a building well-built for acoustics, that it was going to be noisy — really noisy.

“It was a wild atmosphere,” Wright said. “You can’t hear anything. It’s a difficult place to play for everybody, including the home team.”

Brunson gave up on trying to listen to Wright calling plays.

“I tried reading his lips,” Brunson said.

And Spellman said he had to ask Bridges “50 times” the play.

Villanova shot an efficient 57 percent in the opening half to take a 46-28 lead. Nine Wildcats scored in the opening 20 minutes, led by Spellman’s 10 points.

The Wildcats were in total control after halftime and the advantage reached as much as 74-47 on Bridges’ fastbreak dunk with 8:38 remaining.

Villanova finished shooting 57 percent from the field, including 50 percent from beyond the arc.

AJ Brodeur paced Penn with 15 points and Darnell Foreman had 13 for the Quakers (5-4).

Donahue wasn’t displeased with Penn’s effort, instead crediting the Wildcats for their typically strong performance.

“They’re such a good, disciplined, tough team,” he said. “There’s never a team I’ve played against that’s smarter, tougher and more unselfish.”

HONORS ALL AROUND

Villanova also honored the late Rollie Massimino as 21 members of the former coach’s family were on hand.

Also introduced to the crowd were many former Wildcats who played at Nevin Field House.

NOVEMBER REIGN

The Wildcats have won 27 straight games in November.

PENN DOMINANCE

The victory was Villanova’s 15th straight against Penn.

MEAL TICKETS NEEDED

A mistake by Wright with the pregame schedule forced the Wildcats to go to the school’s cafeteria for their pregame meal rather than in their regular, private location.

BIG PICTURE

Penn: The Quakers are tuning up for the start of the Ivy League season, which begins for them Jan. 5 against archrival Princeton.

Villanova: The Wildcats will look to continue their dominance of the Philadelphia rivals on Saturday at Saint Joseph’s. They’ll host La Salle at the Wells Fargo Center on Dec. 10 and finish the Big 5 at Temple on Dec. 13.

UP NEXT

Penn: At Howard on Monday night.

Villanova: At Saint Joseph’s on Saturday night.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

Providence PF Emmitt Holt to take leave of absence

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Considered by many to be one of the teams capable of challenging Villanova in the Big East, Providence has won five of its first six games without a key member of the rotation. Senior power forward Emmitt Holt has been out of the lineup due to an abdominal injury that required surgery, and a timetable for his return had yet to be finalized.

On Wednesday it was announced that Holt is taking a leave of absence from school that will run until the end of the semester, with the expectation being that he will rejoin the team in January. However, he will not play as it was also announced that Holt will sit out this season as a medical redshirt with the goal being for him to return to the Providence lineup next season.

“Emmitt is one of our team’s most consistent and experienced players, but more importantly, he is an outstanding person,” Providence head coach Ed Cooley said in the release. “We look forward to his return.”

In his first season at Providence, Holt averaged 12.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 27.5 minutes per game, starting 28 of the 32 games in which he played. Holt began his career at Indiana, playing one season before being dismissed from the program. He would then play a season at Indian Hills CC before signing with the Providence program in April 2016.

Holt was expected to be a key part of the Providence front court rotation, along with fellow senior Rodney Bullock and underclassmen Alpha Diallo, Kalif Young and Nate Watson.

That quartet has performed well thus far, but the loss of Holt leaves the Friars short an option to deal with possible issues such as foul trouble or injury. Providence also has 7-foot freshman Dajour Dickens, who after appearing in three of the team’s first four games did not see action against either Belmont or Boston College.

Four Takeaways from No. 21 Xavier’s win over No. 16 Baylor

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Xavier didn’t have the strongest night from senior All-American candidate Trevon Bluiett but the No. 21 Musketeers still had more than enough to race past No. 16 Baylor with a 76-63 win. Here are four takeaways from a very good win for Xavier (6-1) as they handed the Bears (5-1) their first loss of the season.

1. Xavier doesn’t need an A-game from Trevon Bluiett to beat a ranked opponent

Trevon Bluiett is one of the best players in college basketball. This has been documented by three seasons worth of evidence and numerous preseason All-American accolades.

But the most important takeaway from Xavier’s win over Baylor on Tuesday night was that they can still beat ranked opponents when Bluiett isn’t rolling as a scorer. Averaging 21 points per game entering the Baylor game, Bluiett only finished with 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting on Tuesday as he never seemed to get comfortable dealing with Baylor’s length and athleticism on the defensive end.

And for Xavier on this particular night? That turned out to be okay. J.P. Macura was red-hot in the first half (more on him in a minute) and others like Kaiser Gates and freshman Naji Marshall also stepped up in the scoring column to make up for the off-scoring night from Bluiett.

Gates, in particular, made some huge three-pointers, making it tough for Baylor to stick with its gameplan on the defensive end.

That’s a great sign for Xavier since they also feature a number of other role players who can step up on any given night. We’ve seen senior Sean O’Mara step up his post scoring at times and Tyrique Jones has also been a double-figure scorer plenty of times early this season.

Xavier doesn’t need all of its big guns to get going in order to win if their offense continues to be this balanced.

2. Baylor needs more offensive help for Manu Lecomte

While Baylor deserves credit for never giving up and sticking within striking distance for a good chunk of the game, their offense just didn’t have much help for senior guard Manu Lecomte.

Lecomte struggled to a 4-for-13 shooting night and finished with only 11 points as he had a difficult time adjusting to Xavier’s length and activity on the defensive end. Playing against long-armed opposing guards like Quentin Goodin, Lecomte struggled to hunt his own offense and passing over the top of the Musketeer defense also proved to be a difficult task.

And Baylor didn’t have many other answers to get points since Lecomte was struggling. Terry Maston had 15 first-half points for the Bears but he appeared to go down with an injury as he didn’t play for long stretches of the final frame. Xavier also had a solid plan to change looks against Baylor’s post offense, at times collapsing with doubles from unique angles and playing straight-up single coverage during other moments.

If Baylor wants to be one of the Big 12’s elite teams, they’ll need to address some of its offensive issues if Lecomte can’t get going. This won’t be the only game that Lecomte has to face long and athletic guards this season.

3. Xavier’s J.P. Macura seems to be playing to the level of his opponents.

It’s been a bizarre start to the season for Xavier senior guard J.P. Macura. One of the most intense players in the country, Macura has been really good against the Musketeers’ quality early-season opponents (Arizona State and Wisconsin) and really mediocre against lesser competition.

The Baylor game continued this early trend. Macura was clearly feeling it on the offensive end against the Bears, attacking the 2-3 zone from the free-throw line and also pulling up for some NBA-range three-pointers. Macura finished with 19 points and six rebounds.

Macura’s offensive outburst slowed down in the second half but his defensive intensity was still solid. He was a key on post doubles while getting deflections on the perimeter.

The major question becomes if Macura can sustain really good production every single game? Playing with such a fiery intensity can burn out some players within the ebb-and-flow of a long season or even, at times, within the same game. Macura is a senior, so he should have a good grasp on how to deal with his at-times boundless energy. But if Xavier wants to achieve its highest ceiling this season, they need Macura to play like this nearly every night.

If Macura plays like this and Bluiett is at his normal scoring pace then Xavier could be scary.

4. Xavier freshman Naji Marshall looked like he belonged

Xavier brought in another really solid freshman class this season and 6-foot-7 wing Naji Marshall looks like he could a key to the Musketeers’ season. Another long and active player on the defensive end and aggressive attacking the rack on the offensive end, Marshall struggled against Wisconsin two weeks ago. The freshman looked a lot more comfortable playing against Baylor.

Even facing unique defensive matchups like Bears center and rim protector Jo Lual-Acuil, Marshall was assertive, finishing with 10 points and four rebounds off the bench. Getting to the free-throw line six times, Marshall showed why he was a consensus top-75 recruit in his class.

While Marshall is at his best playing in the open floor when he can get a head of steam going to the rim, his versatility also gives Xavier some unique options when he’s in the lineup. Marshall still has to prove he can be consistent but he’s another versatile piece for Xavier. On a night when Xavier needed a little extra, Marshall stepped up as a much-needed additional scorer when Blueitt got off to a sluggish offensive start.

No. 6 Wichita State beats Marquette 80-66 in Maui semis

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LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Landry Shamet scored 19 points, Connor Frankamp added 13 and No. 6 Wichita State rode its second-half defense into the Maui Invitational title game with an 80-66 victory over Marquette on Tuesday.

Wichita State (4-0) needed a massive rally just to get into the semifinals after a slow start against California in its opener. The Shockers had no such trouble against Marquette, trading baskets with the Golden Eagles (2-2) in a high-level first half.

Wichita State took control by turning up the defensive pressure in the second half, holding sharpshooters Markus Howard and Andrew Rowsey in check long enough to build a 10-point lead.

The Shockers shot 54 percent and had a 44-33 advantage in the paint to earn a spot in Wednesday’s championship game against No. 6 Notre Dame or LSU.

Rowsey had 26 points and Howard 25 for the Golden Eagles, who were held to 10-of-33 shooting in the second half after a stellar first 20 minutes.

Marquette shot its way into the semifinals. Rowsey scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half and Howard had 18 of his 22 in the second to carry the Golden Eagles to a 94-83 win over VCU.

The Shockers appeared to be headed to the loser’s bracket after falling behind by 18 points early in the second half against Cal. Wichita State turned to a full-court press to get back in it and the tactic worked, leading to a string of turnovers and a 92-82 win.

The reward for both teams: An early wake-up call (8:30 a.m. local) to play in the semifinals.

Neither team seemed groggy early, trading 3-pointers, floaters and drives to the basket while hitting a combined 11 of 16 shots.

Howard picked up where he left off in the first round, scoring 17 points in the first half. Rowsey had an incredible four-point play, getting Samajae Haynes-Jones to bite on an up-fake, contorting his body after drawing contact, then making the shot — with his left hand.

Wichita State spread it around while hitting 16 of 30 shots, taking a 41-36 lead into the second half.

The offensive show continued in the second half, with Rowsey scoring seven quick points and the Shockers spreading the scoring wealth.

Then the Shockers clamped down on the Golden Eagles, contesting those long 3-pointers by Rowsey and Howard, challenging everything at the rim. Wichita State held Marquette scoreless for nearly 6 minutes, building a 58-48 lead with a 7-0 run.

Marquette made a short run, but Frankamp hit a pair of 3-pointers and the Shockers kept the Golden Eagles at bay the rest of the way.

THE TAKEAWAY

Wichita State flexed its defensive muscles in the second half and was good offensively all game to reach its first Maui title game. And they did it without forward Markis McDuffie (foot), their top scorer and rebounder from a year ago.

Marquette showed it can play with one of the top teams in the country in the first half, but couldn’t sustain it to end up in the Maui third-place game.

UP NEXT

Wichita State will face the winner between N. 13 Notre Dame and LSU in Wednesday’s title game.

Marquette plays the Notre Dame-LSU loser in the third-place game on Wednesday.

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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25