After grinding out a win against Virginia Tech last weekend despite offensive struggles, Seton Hall was praised for its character, resiliency, and grit, all of which were accurate adjectives for the first Seton Hall victory with less than a 32% FG% since 2003.
Yesterday however, resolution was on the side of Fairleigh Dickinson as the Division 1 bottom-feeders ditched their title and notched their second victory over a high-major school from New Jersey in as many games while improving their all-time record against Seton Hall to 4-17. The win was FDU's first over Seton Hall since 2006 and just their 2nd against Division 1 opposition in 22 attempts since the middle of last season. Seton Hall posted a stat line of 37% FG (20-53), 31.8% 3PT (7-22), 63% FT (7-11), 15 turnovers, and 12 assists during the game.
FDU senior point guard Sidney Sanders Jr. (23 pts, 9 rebs, 9 asts, 3 stls) was by far the best player on the court, as showed by his triple-double bid. He was countered by Seton Hall's Fuquan Edwin (16 pts, 5 rebs, 5 stls) and three-point threat Brian Oliver (12 pts, 4-9 3pt), the two lone significant contributors for Seton Hall on offense.
Post-game quotes from Kevin Willard:
On preparation and slow start, from Brendan Prunty's game story: "We watched their last two games. We saw what they did against Rutgers. You can't come out in the first 10 minutes and play the first 10 minutes the way we did. ... That first group should be a higher-energy group and they're not."
On the offensive struggles, taken from Jerry Carino's game story: "We lack a little bit of energy on the offensive end. We stand around and watch people dribble too much."
"Obviously this is a tough loss, about as bad of a loss as I've ever had. But I told them this is not going to be something where we're jumping off bridges. We have to go back and figure out why it happened."
Regarding Sterling Gibbs' tough day on the court: "I think he has to understand when he's not getting the whistle he had at the beginning, he has to adjust his game a little bit. Teams are telling the refs he's jumping into guys (to draw fouls). He's still playing hard, he's getting good looks. He just has to make them."
Post-game quotes from the Seton Hall players:
Brian Oliver on the mental composition of Seton Hall: "As a team we just have to look in the mirror. This one shows we definitely have some holes we have to figure out. Once again we came out lackadaisical. The game is mental. As a team I think we lose sight of that."
Brandon Mobley on Fairleigh Dickinson's defensive posture: "It was the first time we ever played against that kind of zone, so offensively it took some time to get to it."
My leadership skills suck not by setting examples, but communication wise. Something I must work on !!— Fuquan Edwin (@FuquanEdwin) December 1, 2013
Interesting stats & notes:
Where is the heart?: Seton Hall trailed 50-49 with 3:59 to play in the game. The Pirates scored just 5 points over the final stretch of play.
Seton Hall was out rebounded 23-18 and gave up 10 offensive boards to Fairleigh Dickinson. Brendan Prunty beat me to this head-scratcher:
Face-melting stat: FDU out-rebounded Seton Hall 33-29 today. In FDU's first game, it was out-rebounded by D2 Caldwell, 47-38.— Brendan Prunty (@BrendanPrunty) December 1, 2013
After his excellent performance yesterday, FDU's Sidney Sanders is now 2nd in assist rate and 8th in percentage of possessions used (34%). Leader.
Sterling Gibbs was held to an offensive rating of 55, his lowest on the season. Gibbs was averaging an offensive rating of 135 prior to playing Virginia Tech and FDU.
Seton Hall never lead by more than 2 against Fairleigh Dickinson, a team that lost to Arizona by 50 and trailed a Division 2 team by 16. FDU lead by as many as 8 points.
A .87 points per possession number against FDU is Seton Hall's lowest since their 46-42 win over USF (.85) in last year's Big East Tournament.