In tonight's live game thread, I predicted a close and competitive first half due to the Pirates playing their fourth game in six days. I also stated the Pirates would pull away early in the second half. I guess I'll settle for one out of two in the predictions circuit.
Seton Hall defeated Yale at home on Tuesday night 73-62, in a game that took the Pirates about 30 minutes to build a comfortable margin. Leading by 17 points with 4:23 to play, I launched my browser to start writing my post game recap a few minutes early, but it wouldn't be. Unable to close out the Bulldogs, Yale strung together a 14-3 run over the next 2 and a half minutes, to pull within 7 points. Of course, they were assisted by careless Pirate offensive possessions, terrible inbounds attempts and they were met with a lackadaisical defense as Seton Hall appeared to check out of this one a few minutes too early. Obviously, the end of game lapse isn't something to be overly concerned about, considering the circumstances, but you can bet Kevin Willard will speak to his team about what transpired in the final minutes.
Patrik Auda bounced back a little bit tonight after being shutout against Northwestern. Auda found himself in foul trouble once again, picking up his third PF in the second minute of the second half. Still, the sophomore was a little more productive when he was on the floor tonight. Auda hit 3-of-4 from the floor, including an open trey from the top of the key, but was pedestrian from the charity stripe making good on just 5-of-9 attempts and was reckless with the basketball at times, committing 5 of Seton Hall's 15 turnovers. The most impressive part of his game tonight was the determination made in getting to the glass. Patrik recorded 7 rebounds; making a much better effort of getting inside and hitting the boards. Had he not been in foul trouble the majority of the night, he would have had a chance to play for a dub-dub, but again, foul trouble continues to plague him throughout the short season.
The offensive execution was a bit of a mixed bag tonight, at times they got the ball into the post, but would then struggle to finish around the rim. Credit the interior defense of the Bulldogs, they pestered Pope for much of the night, though he still finished with 8 makes on 18 attempts, many coming as tip-ins off his own rebounds. Other possessions saw crisp ball movement, players moving without the ball and smart decisions in transition, including a beautiful crafty left handed dime from freshman, Sean Grennan.
Speaking of Grennan, as each game passes, he's seeing more PT (11min), and it's becoming pretty evident that he's passed Freddie Wilson (2min) as the primary backup PG. Sean recorded his first points of his Seton Hall career tonight drilling a 3-pointer from the wing on his only shot attempt. He also added an assist and a rebound and should have been credited for a steal, which went to Fuquan Edwin. I mentioned on Twitter that I was encouraged with what I saw out of him. The kid always brings energy and hustle, but tonight we saw a little bit more, some scrappy defense a nice pass and a made shot. It's a beginning.
When 'one door closes, don't you know another is open?' Snapping his double-double streak against Northwestern, Herb Pope wasted no time in starting another streak! Finishing with 17pts/10reb/3stl/3blk/3ast, Pope compiled quite the Josh Smith-esque line. Wait, what am I doing? Bad reference, #unfollownba! Shout out, Bill Simmons.
Jordan Theodore, didn't shoot the ball particularly well (3-of-10), but converted his last 7 free-throw attempts, adding 9ast/5stl and only turned the ball over twice in 33 minutes of play. Terrific to see Jordan contribute in other facets of the game, when his shot wasn't falling, that's senior leadership.
The third member of the triple threat, Fuquan Edwin, led all scorers with 20pts (7-of-12) and added 7reb/5stl. Ladies and Gentlemen, FUQ'ED's (always wanted to use that) breakout season is fully underway. Settle in, this has been and will continue to be, enjoyable to watch!
The Pirates defense was spectacular tonight, turning the Bulldogs over 22 times. TWENTY TWO times! Of course, Yale was beyond careless with the basketball, but much of it was due to the Hall's defense, quickness and athleticism. Their zone defense was phenomenal tonight. I'm a believer in this team's man-to-man defense (against good 3-point shooting teams), but there's no question their 2-3 zone spurred the 15-0 run late in the game. My colleague, JP Guerette (who did a terrific job on the call and Hall Line), absolutely loves Willard's zone when it's played well, so I'm going to save the thunder for his 5 thoughts tomorrow afternoon.
One last note, since I'm so fair and balanced. The Pirates went to the stripe a total of 31 times tonight, the Bulldogs, 12. I'm not insinuating the calls were one-sided in our favor or anything, just needed to point that out.
I'll leave you with a little Kevin Willard comedy from his presser tonight, the Pirates are next in action at home, Saturday night against St. Peter's. To the SOJ community - everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving.
On Seton Hall's 3-of-31, 3-point shooting at the Rock this year:
Maybe Martin Brodeur is playing goalie on our rim? He plays in this building.
On Fuquan Edwin:
I love his game. I love everything about Fuquan, except his tattoos."