Chris Mullin has been on the floor when an opponent couldn’t be kept out of the paint. Even with a teammate at center – Bill Wennington – who played 15 years in the NBA, every plan to contain Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing was shredded.
“When I was playing, when Patrick was [there], we used to try and send our guard down, double him, box him out, and that didn’t work either,” Mullin said.
On Saturday at Madison Square Garden, the Red Storm (11-14, 5-7) will find out if there’s anything they can do to stop Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado from dominating another afternoon on the glass.
In the Pirates’ 86-73 win over St. John’s on Jan. 22, Delgado – who leads the nation with 13.2 rebounds per game and is on pace to set the single-season Big East record for rebounds – became the first Big East player to notch at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in the same game in seven years.
“They exposed us on the boards,” Mullin said Friday. “He plants himself under the basket. He’s hard to move. That’s a skill and a strength that he has. You send another guy down there and have your guards come back, but he’s got a special skill. Sometimes it doesn’t look like he has any chance of getting the ball, and he gets it, and he does it consistently. … You do the best you can. You box out. Whatever you can do. The small guys [can] get down there, get into his legs, and if you do all that, it still depends on where the ball bounces.
“It’s a little more demoralizing when you get a stop and you just don’t get the ball back. And we like to get out in the open floor, and it takes away that opportunity. He’s been rebounding against everybody. That’s one of the things you want to take away, but one guy’s not gonna beat you.”
If one player can, it is the 6-foot-10 Dominican, who has 18 double-doubles this season and has averaged 22.5 points and 16 rebounds while playing 41.5 minutes during consecutive overtime wins by Seton Hall (15-8, 5-6) in the past week.
Though no player on St. John’s has the size to match up with the 240-pound Delgado, 6-foot-11 Tariq Owens is eager to avenge the recent mauling, which contributed to the Red Storm’s league-worst rebounding ranking.
“We’re not the only ones he’s done it to, but me personally, I don’t like that,” Owens said. “It’s gonna be something that I’m looking forward to. … We have to make a conscious effort to hit him and find him every time and just make sure that he doesn’t get the ball. Even if we don’t get the rebound, we have to make sure that he doesn’t get it.”
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