Disastrous road trip sets up must-win games for Seton Hall

Seton Hall’s three game road trip this past week couldn’t have gone any worse.

The Pirates were looking to come back to South Orange having gone 2-1 on the trip, with the lone loss coming to Villanova.

Instead, they return 0-3 after dropping games to Marquette in which they fought back to force overtime, an inferior Providence team, and the number one team in the country in Villanova.

As opposed to 4-2, Seton Hall now finds themselves at 2-4 and  at the bottom half of the Big East standings in eighth place.

Going into Marquette was never going to be an easy win and the Pirates didn’t help their cause by coming out flat in the first half. Led by Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez, the Pirates clawed back from a seven point deficit with under a minute left to force overtime.

Nothing went right in the overtime period however, as Carrington would foul out early in the period and big man Angel Delgado was exhausted. Despite a last ditch effort at heroics from Rodriguez, Seton Hall fell 89-86.

Another flat start ensued on Saturday in Rhode Island and Seton Hall could ultimately never recover, losing to the Friars by a 65-61 final. The lack of effort in the first half prompted head coach Kevin Willard to call the loss embarrassing in a variety of ways.

The already dreadful week would come to an end in an even worse way, as Seton Hall couldn’t get anything going against Villanova and lost 76-46. Given the circumstances, the loss was not one of the worst of the Willard era, but it was one of the largest margin of defeats and arguably the most embarrassing loss in Willard’s time at the Hall.

It was a grueling week for Seton Hall with only one day to prepare for the number one team in the country. Willard can complain about the schedule all he wants, but now that the Pirates will play their next two games at home one thing is crystal clear.

These are must win games.

Seton Hall will take on another inferior team in St. John’s on Sunday. The Red Storm have excellent guards, but not much of an inside presence. This could open up the potential for Angel Delgado to have a monster game and lead the Pirates to a morale-boosting win.

Next up after St. John’s will be another tough opponent in Butler. Beating Butler at home is always important because it is nearly impossible to go to the Hinkle Fieldhouse and come away with a win (just ask Villanova about that), but it is important as ever right now.

Even if Seton Hall can manage to defeat St. John’s on Sunday, losing to Butler would put them at 3-5 in the Big East as they head back out on the road. Beating Butler would put Seton Hall back at .500 in Big East play and the Pirates would then have a chance to climb above .500 with a road win over Georgetown.

Things may be gloomy in South Orange right now, but all hope should not be lost. As long as Seton Hall takes care of business at The Rock, a place that they have been extremely successful, these next two games, the Pirates could potentially find themselves right back in the thick of things in the Big East.

PHOTO: USA Today Sports

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