If I told you that Seton Hall was going to score 104 points against UMass, you would have called me crazy. The Pirates did just that, easily.
Fueled by a fantastic shooting night, the Pirates dispatched the Minutemen in exciting fashion. Seton Hall shot 60% overall and 74.1% in the second half. Derek Kellogg was handed the statsheet in his post game interview and made note of this in Gonzo-like fashion. The truth is, how can you compensate for a 74% shooting effort in the second half? Well, some of that was UMass' game plan, some of it was a hot shooting hand by the Pirates.
- No Pirate played more than 29 minutes.
- As noted on the half time report, I stressed the importance of the Pirates shutting down Anthony Gurley and Freddie Riley. For the most part, they did just that. Gurley was able to get a few nice mid-range floaters in the beginning of the second half, but after that, the Pirates really shut him down. Riley was also quiet in the second half.
- Jordan Theodore didn't play much in the first half, but boy did he make up for it in the second half. How many times did he accelerate up the court and score an easy bucket or dish it off to an open Hall, Edwin or Auda? Jordan finished with 17PTS/8AST. Jordan Theodore has had two phenomenal games back-to-back, he will need to be a huge factor throughout the rest of the season, especially with Hazell injured.
- Herb Pope was a huge factor early on, and then sort of fizzled off. It wasn't that he was playing poorly, but the team really didn't need him on the offensive end. He finished with 11PTS/13REB/5BLKS
- Ferrakohn Hall had a career night on the offensive end. He finished with 15PTS on 5-5 from the field. He threw down a monster one handed dunk against some matador defense late in the game.
- Jeff Robinson and Fuquan Edwin were both quietly efficient when in the game. Both picked up 4 personal fouls early in the second half and had to sit for long stretches. Robinson finished with 13PTS/4REB and Edwin with 13PTS, 9 of which were from beyond the arc (3-3), which was a pleasant surprise.
- Jamel Jackson had a quiet second half with 10PTS/4AST, most of his damage was done in the first half.
Some of you may be wondering how Seton Hall went from a stagnant, half court offense to scoring 104 points, practically overnight. Well, I think I have a few reasons why:
1) Passing - Seton Hall passed the rock very well tonight, as shown by the 25 assists on the stat sheet. However, this is deeper than the statistics. Jordan Theodore, Jamel Jackson and basically everyone on the team made the extra pass tonight. Edwin, Auda, Hall and Pope all had a bunch of easy finishes under the basket because of this. The passing also directly contributed to the next point...
2) Press breaking - Jordan Theodore can take most of the credit here, but not all of it. The Pirates broke UMass' press with ease after they struggled with it a bit early. It led to many easy buckets by Patrik Auda, Jordan Theodore and Keon Lawrence.
3) UMass' shot blocking ability - Coming into this game, Seton Hall was one of the most blocked teams in the country, according to KenPom, 4th from last to be exact. UMass only had 2 blocks tonight, one game after every shot Seton Hall put up against Arkansas was blocked. This can be contributed to UMass being a weak blocking team, but Seton Hall also made the extra pass for an easier, uncontested shot.
This win was HUGE for the Pirates, as noted in the Open Game Thread. The Pirates got back to .500 with two easy games ahead of them to really gain some momentum. With their backs pressed against the wall, Seton Hall produced in convincing fashion.
If Seton Hall can play this way against NJIT and Longwood, they should have enough confidence built up to take on Dayton and Richmond with both a very likely expectation.