NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — On Friday night, after No. 13 Seton Hall practiced for the final time before playing Georgetown on Saturday, the Pirates had a special guest — none other than former Pirates coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Carlesimo, who led Seton Hall from 1982 through 1994, was in town for a special 25th anniversary presentation honoring his 1992-93 Pirates team that won both the Big East regular season and tournament championships. He paid a visit to practice and spoke to the team.
“P.J’s message was if you want to be good in March, you have to be good now,” said Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard, after his team defeated Georgetown 74-61. “It was a really good message for my guys. It was good to be able to pick his brain and listen to the stories he tells. I can’t measure what he’s done for the school. I’m still waiting for us to put up a statue of him for everything he did.”
The Pirates were very good Saturday, coming off a tough 20-point setback to Marquette on Tuesday.
“I thought they played hard against Marquette, but just didn’t have it emotionally,” Willard said. “I’m proud of the way we played today.”
Desi Rodriguez and Myles Powell each scored 19 points to lead the Pirates. Powell was especially fired up after the team’s sluggish performance against Marquette.
“I had a good week of practice,” Powell said. “The four seniors (Rodriguez, Khadeen Carrington, Angel Delgado and Ismael Sanogo) all came to me and told me I had to shoot more, be aggressive, go to the basket. They wanted me to bring some energy and that’s what I did.”
The Pirates (15-3, 4-1 Big East), who remained undefeated at home (11-0), received 11 points and 13 rebounds from Delgado.
The Hoyas (12-5, 2-4) were led by Marcus Derrickson, who scored 18 points. Jahvon Blair and Jessie Govan scored 11 points each.
The Hoyas controlled the action early on, jumping out to a 12-3 lead, but the Pirates outscored the Hoyas 29-10 over the final 11 minutes of the first half to take a 44-31 lead.
“We got off to a good start, but then we started turning the ball over,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said. “We let them back into the game. We can’t turn it over that way. We missed layups. We need to get easy baskets. Our offense needs to improve. As a team, we have to stop turning it over.”
The Pirates led by as many as 16 in the second half, but the Hoyas cut the lead to 60-52 with 8 minutes left on a steal and a layup by Trey Dickerson.
But the Pirates got a power move from Delgado who pushed the lead back into double digits at 62-52 with 6:29 remaining.
Rodriguez made a driving shot in the lane with the shot clock set to expire that gave the Pirates a 69-54 lead with 3:28 left.
“I was really impressed with the way we played today,” Willard said. “We had only one practice in five days. Defensively, we picked up our energy. I was impressed with the way they came back after a real sluggish week.”
25 YEARS LATER
The 1992-93 Seton Hall team which won both the Big East regular season championship and the Big East tournament title was honored 25 years after achieving the rare double title feat, the only Seton Hall team to ever win both in the same year.
“It’s a great day,” said Terry Dehere, the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,494 points, the Big East Player of the Year that year and the MVP of the Big East Tournament. “I’m excited to see everyone. Some of the guys I haven’t seen in 15 years. When you’re playing basketball, you don’t get the chance to enjoy the moment. I think it means a lot to the Big East to have Seton Hall relevant again.”
“It’s always emotional to be back here,” said Carlesimo, who was teary-eyed when announced with his team during a media timeout. “It’s always great to see these guys. The relationships I created over the years is what I miss the most.”
Carlesimo, now an analyst for ESPN, was a coach in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Brooklyn Nets.
Also on that Seton Hall team and in attendance was Arturas Karnishovas, who is currently the general manager of the Denver Nuggets.
The Pirates and Hoyas have been playing each other since Dec. 10, 1909, with the Hoyas holding a 57-47 advantage in the series and a 41-21 lead since both teams joined the Big East. But the Pirates have won the last five meetings, including both of last year’s contests by a total of five points, one in overtime.
The Pirates jumped from No. 21 to No. 13 in the latest AP Top 25 poll. It was the biggest jump in the poll since the Pirates won the Big East championship in 1991.
Georgetown assistant coach Louis Orr returned to familiar territory. Orr was the head coach at Seton Hall from 2001 through 2006, leading the Pirates to two NCAA Tournaments in his last three years and posting a mark of 80-63 during his time in South Orange. Orr was the first-ever former Big East player (Syracuse) to become a head coach in the league.
It was the 64th time in his Seton Hall career and the 14th time this season that Delgado collected double figures in points and rebounds, the top figure in the country.
THE BIG PICTURE
Seton Hall: Carrington moved to within 17 points of Shaheen Holloway for 14th place on the all-time Seton Hall scoring list. Holloway is currently an assistant coach for the Pirates.
Georgetown: Before Saturday, Georgetown had a 10-5 record against teams ranked No. 13 in the country. The last time the Hoyas played a No. 13 team was Nov. 21, 2016, when the Hoyas defeated Oregon in the Maui Invitational.