Pirates best Blue Demons behind 33 from Rodriguez

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Pirates best Blue Demons behind 33 from Rodriguez

The Blue Demons are still searching for their second win of league play. 
(Richard Bodee / The DePaulia)

The Blue Demons are still searching for their second win of league play. (Richard Bodee / The DePaulia)

The Blue Demons are still searching for their second win of league play. (Richard Bodee / The DePaulia)

The Blue Demons are still searching for their second win of league play. (Richard Bodee / The DePaulia)

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Anything you can do, I can do better.

That’s what Seton Hall Pirates (18-9; 7-7 Big East) senior forward Desi Rodriguez was probably thinking as he dropped a career-high 33 points on 12-for-21 from the field in the Pirate’s 82-77 win against the DePaul Blue Demons (10-16; 3-11 Big East) on Saturday afternoon which canceled out a standout second-half performance from Blue Demon graduate senior center Marin Maric who finished with 23 points, 19 of which came in the second half.

Maric did everything for the Blue Demons this afternoon. He tied a career high by connecting on two 3-point field goals, finished up-and-over and through the body of Pirate defensive stalwart Angel Delgado in the post on several occasions, and even contorted his body on drives to finish in guard-like fashion. He also pulled down eight rebounds.

But it wasn’t enough, because after tying the game on their first possession of the second half, DePaul trailed for the rest of the game as a late surge wasn’t enough to get them over the hump for a victory.

With one minute to play, Blue Demon sophomore Brandon Cyrus intercepted a pass in the backcourt, and whipped it to freshman Justin Roberts for a streaking layup to cut the deficit to 77-73. After Seton Hall’s Jordan Walker missed both free throws, DePaul junior Max Strus missed a long 3-point field goal on the other end, but Roberts corralled the rebound and was fouled when Walker tried to nudge him out of bounds. Roberts made one of two free throws to pull DePaul to within three points.

After a pair of intentional foul makes by Rodriguez, Strus hit a 3-point field goal from the right wing with Seton Hall guard Myles Cale draped all over him. Now 79-77, the Blue Demons intentionally fouled Walker who missed the first free throw but made the second one. Seton Hall was up by three points with 24 seconds remaining, but Blue Demon junior Eli Cain couldn’t finish a driving layup on the following possession which iced the game.

The Blue Demons leave the Prudential Center on Saturday feeling like they missed out on an opportunity. DePaul shot 12-for-22 from the free-throw stripe and allowed the Pirates to decisively outrebound them 48-31. A monster 16 points and 19 rebounds from Delgado didn’t help matters either. It was another competitive loss for the Blue Demons who are 1-5 this season in games decided by five or less points.

The first 12 minutes of the first half was back-and-forth basketball, with DePaul holding a slight 23-21 lead at the 8:16 mark.

Delgado had already generated a double-double in the first half of the game, scoring 10 points and pulling down 11 rebounds as the Pirates retreated to the locker room at the end of the first half with an 11-4 advantage in the offensive rebounding department, although the second-chance points were even.

At the 7:30 mark in the first half, Seton Hall went on a 15-3 run over 4:30 of game time to extend their lead to 31-23. All the points during that stretch came from seniors Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, and Rodriguez. However, DePaul answered with a 10-0 run of their own late in the second half punctuated on their last possession of the half with a corner 3-point field goal by senior Tre’Darius McCallum. He finished the half with a game-high 13 points on 5-for-8 from the field.

The Blue Demons will look to regroup on Wednesday when they head to the suburbs of Philadelphia to take on the No. 3/2 ranked Villanova Wildcats at The Pavilion. The game begins at 7:30 p.m.