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Quotes & Notes: Seton Hall outlasts Niagara in foul fest

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102 free throws. 73 fouls. Basketball?
102 free throws. 73 fouls. Basketball?
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of what is at fault, it is safe to say that last night's 73-foul 102-free throw affair was an example of a failed attempt to implement the NCAA's new rule changes. The fouls began early with the first being called 30 seconds into the game, and they occurred often -- approximately every 32.8 seconds. We'll have more on that.

Post-game quotes from Kevin Willard, copied from Jerry Carino (NJ Hoops Haven):

On the fouls: "It's going to take everyone a little bit of time to adjust to. Players are going to take a little time. Refs need to take a little time . . . "It was one of those ugly, early games, but I'm just glad we won."

"This was a blended [officiating] crew, but I thought they did a good job. You're going to get a flow. I don't think you're going to see this - you might see more fouls - but you're not going to see this. This is something that I think is going to take a little time to get used to."

On the productive return of Patrik Auda and Brandon Mobley from season-ending injuries: "Brandon's shoulder is fixed now, but he's still a little uncomfortable going up . . . Having both those guys out there to me was exciting. They're not playing the way they're going to play in a month and a half . . . With Patrik, everybody remembers Patrik from two years ago, they don't remember the Patrik from early last year, when he was playing really well (before he got hurt). You're going to see a more assertive Patrik."

On Sterling Gibbs (from Jerry Carino's game story): "He did a good job, really came in and understood what was going on and took advantage of it. It's nice to have him on the floor."

Explanation on his starting lineup (Maayan, Oliver, Edwin, Teague, Auda) : "I went with the five guys that had the most experience (to start). We got off to a really bad start in the exhibition game, and with those nerves, I wanted Jaren and Sterling to feel their way into the game. They both did a really good job of collecting themselves and going out and playing very well."

Seton Hall players:

Sterling Gibbs on his debut: "It's a dream come true. You always want to play in front of your friends and family, the hometown crowd, and perform the way they want you to play. Coming in I felt a little bit of pressure because they hold you to certain expectations. Then when I got on the court I became myself and everything took care of itself."

Gibbs on the implementation of new NCAA rules: "As soon as I realized how close they were calling it, I figured I might as well attack the basket, and they were consistent with it so I kept attacking."

"It's tough. It was honestly crazy to me. But I guess it's something that we're going to have to get used to."

Jaren Sina, on Gibbs: "He was throwing his body in there and taking advantage of what was happening, and that was really smart of him. In the second half I started thinking, "I have to throw my body in there and get to the line if this is how it's going to be called. We both have to be strong with the ball because we're both good free-throw shooters."

Jaren Sina on the officiating, taken from JP Pelzman's game story: "I think the best word to describe it is awkward."

Tom Maayan on officiating, taken from Brendan Prunty's game story: "It was crazy. That many fouls called, it slowed the pace of the game and slowed everything down. It was tough to get into a rhythm."

Quotes from head official Wally Rutecki on the new rules: "It's an adjustment for everyone. I think tonight, that was their first live game - you know what I mean? - now they've seen it. Not in practice, not in a scrimmage - for real."

"That's it. That's all we can do. Those are the rules that they want to enforce this year. And that's our job."

Interesting stats & notes:

  • Final Seton Hall FT Rate: 104. That's over double last season's national leader (Villanova, 50.6). Niagara's FT rate was 98. As of Sunday morning, Seton Hall is only 5th in the country in FT Rate. Marquette is in first with a whopping 147.
  • The record for highest combined team personal foul count is 84, held since 1953. Seton Hall and Niagara combined for 73 fouls last night.
  • Sterling Gibbs debuted with 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He made 17-of-23 free throws on the night. Sterling's previous career high were the 14 points he scored against Nicholls State as a freshman at Texas.
  • 6 players fouled out of the game while 6 players finished the game with 4 fouls. Imagine if the score were closer down the stretch?
  • The only player to see the court and not record a foul was Niagara's David Varoli (believed to be a walk-on), who played for 2 minutes.
  • KenPom wrongly predicted a 74-63 score (game ended 83-72), but nailed the (-11) Seton Hall margin of victory.Seton Hall is estimated to beat Kent State 74-62 (88%) on Wednesday. Less fouls please.