A three-game winning streak and a favorable schedule to end the regular season have Seton Hall thinking NCAA Tournament.
The Pirates aim to take the next step in that direction Wednesday night when they host DePaul in a Big East Conference clash.
Their 57-51 win Sunday over Marquette in Newark, N.J., included 20 points from Jared Rhoden, a double-double from Sandro Mamukelashvili and a sterling defensive effort that limited the Golden Eagles to 3 of 25 3-point shooting and 30 percent accuracy overall.
Seton Hall’s final four games after DePaul are at Georgetown, at Butler, Connecticut and at St. John’s — all winnable games. Even with losing their home date with Xavier due to COVID-19 issues with the Musketeers, the Pirates should be in good shape for an NCAA bid if they take care of business.
“The schedule is the schedule,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard told NJ.com. “There’ll be no more games added and obviously, we can lose games, there’s always unfortunately that. When you lose games late, unfortunately all the makeup games are already done.”
Mamukelashvili (17.6 ppg, 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists) and Rhoden (14.8 ppg, 6.7 rebounds) pace the Pirates (12-8, 9-5 Big East). They also get 12.6 points per game from Myles Cale, who is converting 39.1 percent of his 3-point attempts.
As for DePaul (3-9, 1-9), its struggles continued Saturday night with a 57-47 home loss to Providence in which it sank just 30.6 percent of its field goals and managed just 19 second-half points.
Playing without Charlie Moore (knee), who entered the game as their second-leading scorer, the Blue Demons got 10 points off the bench from David Jones but received little from anyone else. Top scorer Javon Freeman-Liberty managed only seven points in 26 minutes before departing the game midway through the second half with an apparent shoulder injury.
It’s not known if Moore (13.7 ppg) or Freeman-Liberty (13.4) will be able to play Wednesday. If both have to sit out, that will leave DePaul without more than 40 percent of its offense. It averages just 66.3 points per game and makes only 41.3 percent of its field-goal attempts.
The teams have already met this season. Seton Hall captured a 76-68 victory on Jan. 9 in Chicago behind 18 points from Rhoden and 52 percent shooting from the field.
–Field Level Media