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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — With three talented seniors, four scorers and a solid defense, No. 19 Seton Hall is starting to look scary good.
Angel Delgado had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and the Pirates continued their impressive start to the season with a 90-67 victory over Virginia Commonwealth in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center on Saturday.
Myles Powell added five of his 17 points in a game-breaking 13-1 first-half run, Desi Rodriguez had 17 and Khadeen Carrington scored 13 for the Pirates (8-1), who have won four straight since being beaten at the buzzer by Rhode Island on Thanksgiving. Michael Nzei added 14 points, 10 of them in garbage time in the second half.
"We have so many weapons and when you do, it's easy to play," Delgado said after posting his 56th career double-double.
The Pirates' recent run includes wins over current Texas Tech and Louisville, which was nationally ranked at the time. It also came after the loss to Rhode Island knocked the then-No. 20 Pirates out of the Top 25. They returned this week.
"We know how that felt and we don't want to have that feeling again," Rodriguez said. "Our older guys know what it takes to win, and it's up to us to lead our younger guys to doing the right things. Let them understand how good of a team we are and every time we play someone, they're going to give us their best game. For us, coming out starting off strong and coming out the second half and starting off strong again, I think that was great for us and it set the tone."
Justin Tillman had 14 of his 20 points in the second half to lead VCU (5-5), which suffered its biggest loss of the season. Marcus Santos-Silva added 10 points for the Rams in their first meeting with the Pirates.
"We ran into a buzzsaw today," VCU coach Mike Rhoades said. "Seton Hall has a great team. They are definitely a Top 20 team. They scored at the rim at will on us and did a great job of spreading the ball."
Seton Hall took control of the game shortly after Santos-Silva scored to cut the Pirates' lead to 16-12 with 12:20 left in the half.
The Pirates scored 13 of the next 14 points and totally shut down the Rams' offense. They would miss their next 11 shots and turn the ball over three times in falling behind 29-13. Powell started the run with a layup and added a 3-pointer after Carrington made two free throws. Delgado added a free throw, Carrington made two more and Rodriguez ended the spurt with a 3-pointer.
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said the key to the game was limiting Tillman.
"We wanted early in the game to make him uncomfortable, make him take tough shots and not get easy looks from 3," Willard said.
Seton Hall led 43-30 at halftime and was never challenged in the second half.
"You're going to have games like this," Rhoades said. "If you play enough games in your career, you're going to have some bad games. I didn't like our result today. I didn't like our spirit today. We have to go back and work and we've got to earn what we want."
VCU: Tillman has been carrying the Rams in recent games, and Seton Hall neutralized him in the first half, using power forwards Nzei and Ismael Sanogo to move him off the blocks.
Seton Hall: The Pirates are deep and talented. Their seniors — Delgado, Rodriguez and Carrington — are tough to stop and their defense makes them more impressive. VCU shot 38.5 percent for the game, a season low. The Pirates shot 54.7 percent.
VCU hosts Bucknell next Saturday.
Seton Hall hosts Saint Peter's at Walsh Gymnasium on campus in South Orange, New Jersey, on Tuesday.
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