It sure didn't start out as a brilliant display of basketball, but once the floodgates were opened, there was no stopping Seton Hall, who had a major size advantage and used it to roll to a 40-point win over D-II Wilmington University (Del.).
Here are 5 Thoughts on the performance:
- Dealing with the 'Mob'
Brandon Mobley had a game-high 20 PTS, including a remarkable 10-11 from the free throw line and 8 REB. Had this game counted, it would have been a new career-high for him, and that would have been fitting. The Pirates opened up sluggish in this contest, and Mobley came off the bench to give them a shot of energy. He found the openings in the Wilmington zone, and finished well when he wasn't fouled while about to finish (which as you can tell by the numbers was often).
Mobley did this a lot last year as well. He looks to be a little stronger this season, and it was remarked on the Pirate Sports Network broadcast that he continues to be poised on the floor. Good things are ahead for this sophomore.
- Get to the Point
Everyone is focused on the point guard position this season, and with good reason. With Aaron Cosby out with a sprained PCL, it was the first time Pirate fans got to see Freddie Wilson and Tom Maayan run the show. Against a Wilmington team that pressed more than I expected them to, the young floor generals held their own. Maayan showed good ball-handling skills and good defensive instincts (you don't get named your nation's defensive player of the year twice for nothing), getting shut out on the scoreboard but dishing out 5 AST with 2 STL. He did have 3 turnovers, but he was playing in his first collegiate contest, so we'll forgive those.
As for Wilson, he was OK against the press. He wasn't facing, say, DePaul's press, but he got the job done. He created for himself and others, scoring a modest 8 PTS while posting a terrific AST/TO ratio of 8 to 2. With all the guys on the Pirates' roster who can shoot and score, if Wilson can have games like he had last night- running the show, minimizing mistakes, and scoring when teams sag off him- the Pirates will certainly take it.
- Smyth, Smyth, Baby
Kyle Smyth is only going to be with the Pirates this year. And again, this game did not count. But boy, did he have himself a night.
The grad transfer from Iona played a total, cerebral game. He showed off the shooting skills (16 PTS, with 4-8 3PM), but he also had quick hands (3 STL), and was very unselfish (tying Wilson with 8 AST). He was a vocal leader, talkative in the impromptu on-court huddles. He also looked like he genuinely loves being at the Hall, even for this one year. Right before the half, he even swished a running half-court three to beat the buzzer. I'm thinking he could find himself as a fan favorite soon.
- All in the 'Gene's
When you're 6'8"-6'9" and built like a Mack truck, and the tallest player on the opposing team is 6'5", there should be predictable results. And there were. Big Eugene Teague made all 6 of his shots from the field (all from basically point-blank range) for 18 PTS and added 8 REB, plus 6-9 from the free throw line. Teague's presence for the Hall this season cannot be underestimated- had he played in the second half much (the game was already out of reach), he would have approximately doubled those numbers. In short, Pirate fans saw everything they needed to see.
- Odds and Ends
The two big wings, Brian Oliver and Haralds Karlis, had pretty much the same type of games. They shot the ball confidently on offense, and were aggressive on both ends of the floor. Oliver had 5 threes, and was more of a playmaker with 4 AST, while Karlis had 4 threes and used his springy frame to grab 8 REB.
Down low, Patrik Auda battled inside and got 11 PTS with 4 REB and 4 AST. He also knocked down a three. Kevin Johnson made his debut in blue and white, and reviews were mixed. The students love the guy, and he competed down low, using his huge frame. He had a little trouble finishing inside, and he picked up a technical foul after a big blocked shot late that also earned him a benching, but it's clear that he's got the physical tools to be a good player for the Hall. He was in good shape, far from a Melvyn Oliver type. I think he'll continue to work on his game this season.
Aaron Geramipoor didn't see much playing time, but he was active when he was on the court.
Fuquan Edwin missed last night's game due to an unspecified violation of team rules. It's not believed to be a serious violation, however, so have no fear.
The Pirates' next exhibition is this Friday when they host Farleigh Dickinson at Madison (not the division-I school, one of their satellite campuses, competing in D-III), so I would expect more of the same stuff from the Pirates. Keep it locked to The Juice for all your Seton Hall Basketball needs. And Go Pirates!