This game was nothing short of amazing for Seton Hall. This was the same team that struggled offensively every single night since Jeremy Hazell went down? This was the same team averaging just over 60 points a game and couldn't shoot the ball into the Hudson River standing on the GWB?
Could have fooled me.
Here are the 5 thoughts:
- Threes? Yeah, Threes
Up until now I had heard that everyone was complaining about Willard's philosophy that allows every Pirate the green light to take an open three. Until tonight, it hadn't exactly worked out. But an 11-22 performance from the great beyond (including 3-3 from Fuquan Edwin and 10 triples total from the starters) should tell Pirate fans one thing- when it works, IT REALLY WORKS. The starters shot an astounding 10-16 from deep. And it's not like they are exactly VMI out there- the offense is much more than deep balls. But it is, and will continue to be, a big part of the offense. Calm down, guys. If the Pirates are capable of nights like these, why force them to stop?
Jeff Robinson and Herb Pope still take a few too many of them, but I digress.
- The Extra Pass
The Pirates were making it. All night long. 25 assists on 36 field goals does not lie. Multiple times, the Pirates were able to find their teammates for easy baskets. Because of their unselfishness, they shot a whopping 60% for the game thanks to many of those open looks and easy baskets. Jordan Theodore (8AST) was the main distributor, slicing through the UMass defense in the second half effortlessly.
- Herb's House
Herb Pope came out strong in this game, and the Pirates didn't need his offense much in the second half, so we'll forgive his slowing down at the tail end of this game. But Pope picked up exactly where he left off in Louisville- controlling the boards. He was a presence with 13 boards and 11 points along with 5 blocks, indicating he also had a defensively strong game. He turned the Minutemen's home court into his house. That's something that leaves me confident that he is either all the way back from his collapse or pretty darn close.
- Keon a 6th Man?
Keon Lawrence had been in the starting lineup, but was replaced tonight by Jamel Jackson. Lawrence had another effective game, doing a little of everything (9PTS/6REB/5AST, 3-5 shooting). We know he's a strong defender as well. I think that if Keon is used as a 6th man off the bench, it would help him because a) he would be allowed to take the pulse of the game, and thus be able to determine just what he should do once he gets in the game, and b) it would allow him to be a change-of-pace guy, making it harder for teams to key on him (no pun intended).
After tonight, it's at an all-time high for the Pirates. They needed a win, badly. They got it by shooting the daylight out of the sky around Amherst. This was a road win against an A-10 team that is much improved from last year, and the Pirates not only beat them, but did it in convincing fashion. Are they going to drop 104 every night? No. But now they get to relax and munch on some cupcakes (Longwood, NJIT) before the main course of their non-conference schedule and the Big East schedule later this month.
Who said you can't have dessert before dinner?