Newark, NJ- A little over a week ago, Notre Dame scored 58 in a losing effort at Rutgers. Coach Mike Brey lamented on how you can't score that amount and win in this league. On a night of surprises (St. John's over West Virginia and DePaul downing Rutgers), the Irish proved you can do quite well scoring 55 points. Provided you defend extremely well and hold the opposition to 42 as they did in earning their fifth conference win tonight at the Prudential Center.
The pace and efficiency:
Notre dame 59 possessions, 93 offensive efficiency
Seton Hall 60 possessions, 70 offensive efficiency
A slow paced game with the Irish dictating tempo and doing a great job keeping the crowd relatively quiet. What gets a crowd going? Three pointers and dunks. Can't remember a Hall slam and they were only 2 of 14 from beyond the arc.
ND stepped things up after intermission. The second half saw them post a 116-82 efficiency edge over the Hall. One way was limiting second half turnovers to five. The first half they committed nine showing an extremely high 32% rate. For the game they checked in at a high but more manageable 24%. The Hall's turnover rate was 18%. One of the few things they did well.
Seton Hall had an awful 28% eFG mark. Coach Kevin Willard pointed out open looks and shots in front of the rim that did not fall. Willard was quick to credit ND's defense as having a lot to do with the Hall's offensive struggles. Herb Pope had as many points (5) as fouls(5). Pope shot a horrific 2 of 16 before exiting with about four minutes left due to foul disqualification. Jordan Theodore led the Hall with 11 points but added one assist and committed five turnovers.
For now, it is time for the Hall to learn from their three consecutive losses but do not dwell on them. Focus on Louisville Ssturday. As Willard said, 'you better have a short memory in this league or it will kill you."
Hall is 4-4 in conference. Notre dame improves to 5-3 and was led by Jerian Grant;s 15 points. Mike Brey continues to do the next to impossible. Notre Dame is doing more than stay competitive. They are starting to ascend in the conference order.