At this point, the actual weight that can be put into statistics from Seton Hall's 83-80 overtime upset at the hands of Saint Peter's yesterday is anyone's guess. Instead, it may be wise to see what may change going forward due to injuries.
Seton Hall (7-4) played the last 5:31 of the first half without centers Aaron Geramipoor (2 blks, 2 rebs, sprained ankle) and Gene Teague (two fouls), two-thirds of the game with seven scholarship players, and the entire overtime with freshman Jaren Sina (2 pts, 0-7 fg, 2 TOs) as a 1-guard.
But, I suppose these are the type of stats that Seton Hall fans should prepare themselves for -- there is no avoiding it. Playing a face-up power forward like Brandon Mobley (9 pts, 9 rebs) at center in a zone and wings Haralds Karlis (5 pts) and Stephane Manga (7 pts, 15 mins) in post-forward positions when Mobley is in foul trouble will result in a 7-1 offensive rebounding margin against Seton Hall as seen in the first half yesterday. Saint Peter's (3-6) 101st rated offensive rebounding percentage, a team effort yesterday, certainly didn't help things. This should be a short-term issue with Fuquan Edwin and Patrik Auda returning over the next few games. Edwin is expected to play next weekend against Eastern Washington while Lafayette on December 27th is the likely return date for Auda.
Seton Hall's first game with just two ball-handlers due to Tom Maayan's departure resulted in 15 turnovers and a 20.4 TO%, which on average would rank the Pirates around 275th in the country. Coming into the game, Saint Peter's had just the 273rd best defensive TO% in the country. Expect turnovers to increase with Sterling Gibbs (17 pts, 9-9 ft) sidelined indefinitely after sustaining a serious right-knee injury.
Perhaps the most devastating aspect of Gibbs' injury is as clear as day. Sterling was ranked 1st in the country in fouls drawn per 40 minutes and 3rd in free throw rate going into yesterday's contest. Further, Seton Hall had the 20th best FTA/FGM ratio (56.3) while 28.5% of their total points came from free throws, good for 19th most in the nation. With Gibbs sidelined, expect both numbers to plummet. You can't replace his aggression to the rim, he was simply Seton Hall's bread and butter on the offensive end. With no driving threat that can match Gibbs' ability, defenders may not respect the Pirates' ability to drive and will therefore play tighter on-ball defense.
Without a true point guard, Seton Hall's 71st ranked (56.4) A/FGM rate will also drop. Perhaps as cruel foreshadowing, the Pirates assisted on just 9 of their 24 made field goals (9/24, 37.5) yesterday after beginning the game with crisp ball movement.
As if this outlook couldn't get any more dismal, a shortened rotation by default (at least until Fuquan Edwin and Patrik Auda return) will also result in poorer defense. Seton Hall held Saint Peter's to just eight points over the first 11:26 of the game yesterday while playing very active defense with a focus on on-ball pressure. With the Peacocks stuck on eight points, Gene Teague picked up his second personal foul, several minutes after Jaren Sina picked up his second. Saint Peter's would go on to score 16 points over the remaining 8:34 of the half and a total of 75 points in 33:34 of action. Seton Hall forced just eight Saint Peter's turnovers yesterday, with four of them coming in the first half. The Peacocks had one of the worst offensive TO% in the country (21.3%, 304th) entering the game and the 311th best adjusted offensive efficiency.
While a small sample size, general logic says that defense decreases as foul trouble increases, especially with a seven or eight scholarship player rotation.
The Pirates will be particularly vulnerable at defending guards, something that was already a weakness. Jaren Sina's margin for error on the defensive end is now zero. Two personal fouls in a half, let alone the span of one second, as happened yesterday, is simply not even an option for Jaren. Poorer defending ability will be a result.
Post-game quotes from Kevin Willard:
Injury-related quotes: "Aaron Geramipoor has a sprained ankle...probably 2-3 weeks with that, and with Gibbs, it doesn't look good.
"We'll know more after he [Gibbs] gets his MRI tomorrow, but it doesn't look good.
"Sterling Gibbs didn't practice the last two days with the flu and then he goes out and gives his best effort."
Post-game quotes from Brian Oliver, Brandon Mobley, and Gene Teague:
Brian Oliver on Gibbs' injury: "After going through this last year, it's tough. It really takes a toll on your mind."
I'm sorry fans. WE let you down. WE let ourselves down. Plz don't count us out though. WE will fight until WE can make it right. #SHBB— Brian (@BO_ThaGod) December 14, 2013
Brandon Mobley: "Deja vu all over again. Hopefully at some point we'll have everybody back healthy, but you never know. It was sad to see... I guess we're just going to move forward with what we have.
"We knew what the game plan was...we knew they had two guys and we couldn't stop them."
Gene Teague on Sterling's injury: "I saw it didn't look good. I saw how he grabbed his knee immediately. It's like a domino effect.
"We can't feel sorry for ourselves...conference play won't let you. We've just got to find a way through this."
Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes! It's greatly appreciated. Staying positive, I'll be good!— Sterling Gibbs (@SterlingGibbs4) December 14, 2013
More interesting stats & notes (we know you couldn't get enough):
Seton Hall has not lost to Fairleigh Dickinson and Saint Peter's in the same season since Jan. 10 and 27, 1968.— Brendan Prunty (@BrendanPrunty) December 14, 2013
Seton Hall has just begun an increasingly tougher stretch of their schedule at the wrong time: NJIT (KenPom: 287), Saint Peter's (281), Eastern Washington (200), Lafayette (176), Providence (58), Creighton (18), Villanova (5).
Gene Teague (14 pts, 11 rebs) posted his fourth double-double in a row and fifth in six games.
Travis Berry logged his first two minutes as a Seton Hall Pirate yesterday. It looks like he will see quite a few more before this season is over.
Brian Oliver's 26-point 10-rebound output was just his second points-rebounds double-double of his career. His first came in 2010 against UTEP (15 pts, 12 rebs). Outside of his Eugene Harvey-like 3-pointers late in the game, Oliver played particularly impressive because he did things we haven't really seen from him. Oliver drove to the basket to score, drove the lane to pass, and even posted up a defender (rather successfully). If Brian can continue to contribute from within the arc, this is a major boost for Seton Hall.
Saint Peter's guard Desi Washington recorded a career-high 34 points (7-9 3pt) yesterday.