Seton Hall-Butler Preview
Seton Hall's stay in the national rankings will likely end after taking another loss, but the Pirates can at least snap their first skid of the season.
That could prove challenging given Butler's success at home but the No. 24 Pirates will try to become the second team to win at Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2014-15 on Sunday afternoon.
Seton Hall (13-5, 3-3 Big East) has dropped three of four games since ascending to No. 19 in the AP Top 25 on Jan. 5. The Pirates took one of those defeats to a visiting Butler on Jan. 13, 79-75 in overtime, then fell 64-60 at home to DePaul on Thursday.
"The ranking has been great, but losing three out of four should be enough motivation for this team," coach Kevin Willard said. ''Every game in this league is going to be one of these games. Everybody knows everybody. We're going to be in these types of games. ... We have to grind the game out and get the win."
The absence of second-leading scorer Isaiah Whitehead, averaging 11.9 points, in the last seven games hasn't helped. The freshman guard could be sidelined the rest of this month because of his foot injury.
Fellow freshman guard Khadeen Carrington has tried to make up for his absence in the past three games by averaging 14.3 points - nearly double from his first 15 - and had a season-best 20 in the loss to Butler (14-6, 4-3).
Pirates leading scorer Sterling Gibbs (16.7 ppg) had 30 points, and Angel Delgado recorded the first of his back-to-back double-doubles with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Delgado set career marks with 19 points and 19 boards in Thursday's defeat.
Jones had a team-best 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three blocks in a 64-61 win over Creighton on Wednesday, the Bulldogs' third in four games and ninth in 10 home contests. Butler closed the game on a 7-2 run after blowing its nine-point lead with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.
"As I said to the guys in the locker room, I was really proud of our resilience in the last few minutes when they made their run and we didn't get back in transition like we need to," coach Chris Holtmann said. "There's a lot we can learn from this and we need to learn from it, and I'd rather learn from a win."
Butler is 3-1 all-time against Seton Hall. Dunham scored 29 points and made all seven 3-point attempts in a 71-54 victory March 8 in the only other meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse. He was limited to four points in a Big East tournament loss to the Pirates on March 12, then opened this season with 19 consecutive double-digit scoring performances that ended with a seven-point night in Wednesday's victory.
Jones is averaging 23.0 points on 56.9 percent shooting and 7.0 rebounds in his last three games. His double-double in Wednesday's victory was his first this season.