Despite leading by just two points at halftime, the Seton Hall Pirates cruised past the NJIT Highlanders, 78-48 at home on Tuesday night. It's hard to take away much of anything from these games. The Pirates slept walked through the first twenty minutes playing down to their opponent, leaving open for debate which team from New Jersey was supposedly among the ten worst in all of division-one hoops.
After Kevin Willard assuredly went tomato at intermission, the Pirates awoke to punish the Highlanders in the second half. NJIT only mustered 16 second half points as they fell victim to a Seton Hall laugher. Although the game got out of control early in the second half, the brand of basketball on display wasn't exactly what one might consider perfection. This is a game where you expect some reserves to score in double figures, yet, it wasn't to be. In fact, all of the starters didn't even accomplish the feat as Fuquan Edwin ended his night with just 9pts on nine shot attempts. FU did add 6reb/5stl/2ast/blk, so it's not to say he didn't contribute a lot to this game, he did, I'm just simply making note of an off scoring night for the sophomore.
Herb Pope did not finish with his fourth consecutive double-double, but there just weren't many opportunities for him to rebound the ball. For the better part of the night, the Highlanders shot the ball over 40% before an atrocious second half sent their percentage stumbling to a 30% finish. Pope added an impressive stat line of 25pts/6reb/4ast/2stl and JP pointed out he'll retain his scoring lead in the Big East conference, but will fall to second in rebounding after tonight. When the Pirates got the ball inside to Pope, he had his way with NJIT converting 10-of-15 from the floor, including 1-of-3 from deep. Pope regressed a bit from his 75% clip at the stripe, making just 4-of-8 and looking more like the Pope we've known from the line prior to the new look this season. In other news, JP also broke out the #mvPope hashtag tonight, good stuff.
Following up what may have been his best game distributing the rock as a Pirate, Jordan Theodore set a career high in assists with 11 dimes. Theodore picked up the double-double pace for Pope, adding 11pts/4reb and most impressively, 0 turnovers to go along with his 11ast. Patrik Auda also continued his improved play scoring 11 points on just five shot attempts, while contributing a team high 7 rebounds. Freshman Aaron Cosby hit another three from distance and finished with 12 points as he continues to add a scoring boost to a Pirates team in search of a consistent fourth scorer. Between Cosby/Auda/Karlis, at least one will need to contribute double figures each night out in order for the team to win ball games.
Two negatives from the game. The students are partly to blame for the team failing to show up in the first half. After what was one of the most impressive student section turnouts in recent memory, there may have been thirty kids in attendance. I understand it's NJIT, but you've got to support the team irregardless of whether their playing an exciting opponent or not. As I mentioned in the game thread, you've still got to show up for the snoozers. Let's pick it up Saturday night against Wake.
Bench scoring. Where was it? I figured tonight was a game we'd see Karlis, Geramipoor, and one of Wilson/Grennan in double figures. Combined, the Seton Hall bench finished with 10 points in 58 minutes, two of which were accounted for by Peter Dill. TEN POINTS against NJIT is simply, unacceptable. Aaron Geramipoor, fouling out with 2pts/4reb in 11min is also unacceptable. Tonight was a game AG should have seen at least 20 minutes, yet he couldn't stay on the floor long enough to make more than one basket. The Pirates are running out of laughers on their non-conference slate and tonight was a perfect opportunity to see what the bench is made of. Despite winning by 30 points, the bench play was disappointing and although it's hard to take much from these games, that aspect will stick with me going forward.
More with JP Guerette's 5 thoughts in the morning.