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Seton Hall advances to Big East semifinals against Villanova

Angel Delgado #31 of the Seton Hall Pirates

Angel Delgado #31 of the Seton Hall Pirates celebrates his dunk against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York on Thursday, March 9, 2017. Big East Basketball Tournament between Seton Hall and Marquette. Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

Immediately after Thursday’s 82-76 victory over Marquette, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard was asked about Friday’s semifinal against Villanova in the Big East Tournament.

“It’s like waking up on Christmas and you’re all excited, you go down, you open up the present and you’ve got a bunch of coal,’’ Willard said. “No, they’re a fantastic team. They really are. I think this is [Jay Wright’s] best job by far.’’

Defending Big East champion Seton Hall (21-10) was beaten twice by Villanova this season but does not need a victory over the Wildcats to earn an NCAA bid.

“No, we don’t have nothing to prove,’’ said forward Angel Delgado, who fell one assist short of becoming the first player in tournament history to record a triple-double. He had 16 rebounds, 12 points and nine assists for his 26th double-double of the season.

Marquette (19-12) led 42-39 when Seton Hall went on a 12-0 run to take a 51-42 lead with 12:15 left. The lead grew to 15 with less than five minutes remaining.

Delgado, who played 33 minutes and was aware he was on the verge of a triple-double, spent the last few minutes on the bench. “I told Coach, ‘Put me back in,’ ’’ Delgado said. “He was like, ‘Nah, you might get hurt.’ ’’

Marquette’s Andrew Row sey had 23 points. Asked if he thinks his team will make the NCAA Tournament, he said, “We’re hoping so. Nothing is guaranteed.”

New York Sports