NEWARK, N.J. — A quick turnaround awaits Monmouth and No. 23 Seton Hall on Sunday when they meet at the Prudential Center.
The two New Jersey schools will be playing their second game in three days after posting opening night wins on Friday. Seton Hall knocked off Fairleigh Dickinson 90-68, while Monmouth edged Bucknell 79-78.
Seton Hall has never lost to Monmouth in 12 meetings, including an 82-66 decision in 2013 — the last time they squared off. The Pirates have dominated their New Jersey brethren, winning seven straight against teams from the Garden State after the FDU victory.
Coach Kevin Willard’s squad has claimed 17 consecutive non-conference games at the Prudential Center and are 56-8 all-time in non-Big East contests.
Senior Khadeen Carrington made his debut at point guard for Seton Hall, handing out six assists and scoring eight points with just one turnover. He played off the ball in his first three seasons.
Carrington made the transition seamlessly.
“When I can advance the ball (in the air), that’s what I want to do,” said Carrington. “I don’t want to keep dribbling and let the defense collapse on me. So if I throw it up, I’ll obviously get it back and that leaves lanes open.”
With four seniors starters, the Pirates were overwhelming inside against FDU, enjoying a 46-24 edge in points in the paint.
They out-rebounded FDU 44-27 and assisted on 22 of 33 made field goals. Senior center Angel Delgado recorded the 51st double-double of his career, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Desi Rodriguez scored 17 points for the Pirates, passing Richie Dec into 35th place on Seton Hall’s career scoring list with 1,132 points. Four Pirates reached double-figures in scoring in a balanced effort in which none of the five starters played more than 23 minutes.
“These guys enjoy passing, they enjoy making the extra pass and when you have four or five guys who can score, that usually leads to making shots,” said Willard. “We played as well as we could have.”
Monmouth had to rely on Micah Seaborn’s late-game heroics on Friday. The junior guard sank two free throws with five seconds to play to put Monmouth up by a point. A last-ditch 3-point attempt by Bucknell clanged off the rim at the buzzer.
Seaborn finished 21 points and 10 rebounds.
“Micah has been the Freshman of the Year, a first team all-league, the natural progression is to be the main player,” Monmouth coach King Rice said. “If he’s not the best player in the (MAAC), he’s one of them, and he can do so many things. The thing with Micah’s confidence level is he lifts guys up and gives them confidence.”
A knee injury in the quarterfinals of the MAAC tournament ended Seaborn’s season last March. He needed surgery to repair the torn meniscus.
“It felt good, but it felt good just to play again,” Seaborn said. “It took a lot of hard work to get to this point. So it was emotional for me, coming back and playing and being in the role of having to lead the team. It just felt good.”