After Seton Hall overcame a nine-point second half deficit against Butler in a 79-75 overtime loss last night, I thought they would have the advantage in overtime due to foul counts. Butler point guard Alex Barlow and forward Andrew Chrabascz had been disqualified before overtime while three other Bulldogs had three fouls.
But it was Sterling Gibbs who would foul out with Seton Hall down 71-70 and 2:07 to play in the extra period. Kellen Dunham drove on Gibbs, something the Bulldog sharpshooter isn't particularly known for, and provoked the fifth infringement from the 30-point guard he scrapped with all night.
It wasn't the main reason Seton Hall lost of course, Butler benefitted from winning in the trenches, and Brandon Mobley's 14 missed shots left the Pirates short of a fourth scorer on the night.
Isaiah Whitehead injury update:
Kevin Willard said last night that Isaiah had a "good" MRI on Tuesday that "showed that the bone is healing. Willard expanded by saying Whitehead has a calcium deposit on his second and third toes, but that it looks good:
"We'll get it pictured again next Wednesday to see if the calcium deposit is bigger or the same. I think you guys all know me, I will probably err on the side of caution with his foot. I'd say it's 80-percent no, 20-percent yes [for DePaul]. Again we're only three weeks into this injury, really four-to-five weeks is what the doctors told me. Four weeks would be Wednesday."
So it sounds like Isaiah is leaning towards unlikely to play against DePaul next Thursday. He still had a boot on his foot during the game tonight.
Seton Hall's loss makes the DePaul game a must-win. Kevin Willard sounded pretty firm on what he'll do with his star freshman (side with caution), but the loss against Butler probably puts a little pressure on Whitehead to come back. Beating DePaul at home is a must-have during a Big East season. Willard likely feels confident to complete the task at hand without Isaiah.
Butler's half court offense was good last night. The Bulldogs picked up where they left off against Xavier (they scored 88 points in regulation) and executed their offense well last night. Roosevelt Jones was pretty hard to stop off the dribble, maybe Whitehead could have matched his size, but he's built like a linebacker. Gibbs did a good job on Kellen Dunham on the perimeter (2-6), but he showed his ability by scoring off the dribble (Gibbs' fifth foul) and within the arc. Dunham finished with 21 points on 14 shots.
Chris Holtmann credited Butler's 13-1 second half-starting run to clamping down on defense.
"They got a lot of what they wanted in the first half ... It might have been something as simple as our guys just realized they were getting kind of whatever they wanted in the first half, Seton Hall that is. And I think our guys were frustrated with that, them shooting 50-percent. I think they made a concerted effort to be better defensively and then that created some things offensively once we could get some stops, because we were just not able to do that in the first half."
Brandon Mobley had an off-night. 6 points (1-15), 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. The senior just couldn't hit a shot including a few open threes that looked good but just missed. Even a still-poor 4-15 from the floor could have made the difference. Not a senior moment from Brandon. (More on what Willard thought below)
The crowd was pretty good. The student section was filled about 90-percent (100 being all the way to the top of the lower bowl. The crowd around 7,000 strong (7,574 paid), cheered from their feet during Seton Hall's final first half possession and made noise at the right times. Seton Hall will hope to have a similar crowd next Thursday, but will likely shed their top-25 ranking, taking some of the allure away.
When asked if he wanted Mobley to stop shooting: "I never want any of my guys to stop shooting it. If you're open, you gotta shoot it. Again, they were doing a very good job with their guards on their pick-and-roll defense. You're going to have to make a play. We had a couple chances when we got the ball down low, they did a very good job of walling us up. Again if we get a couple rebounds... we just didnt rebound the basketball and that's been an achilles heel of ours."
More on Mobley: "Brandon got a little frustrated, he had played a really good game against Creighton. We need him to play well, and he did a decent job defensively but just couldn't get it going offensively."
On Jaren Sina's (0 pts, 4 asts) struggle to find a rhythm: "You have to give Butler credit, Chris [Holtmann] and his staff did a good job. They did a very good job being aggressive early on the pick-and-rolls and they shaded towards him [Sina], and for good reason. he has to be more aggressive creating his own shot."
On Butler defending Seton Hall's pick-and-roll: "I think I'm going to get played the same way each game on the pick-and-roll. They saw how it worked against Xavier, Xavier really doubled they really stayed out there. It's something that I've really got to adjust to, I think I'm starting to do that now."
On Butler's 13-1 run to start second half: "We came out a little flat in the first half, we came in with the lead but it wasn't a secure lead. It wasn't one of the leads we felt great about. And in the first half we really came out flat as well and they really took advantage of that. We found ourself trying to claw back and once we finally tied up the game it went into overtime they really took advantage of the fact that we had to come back and use energy."
More: "I think there's a lot of factors that can play into that. Some of our guys, we didn't really hit shots, that might have affected us a little bit, but at the same time, that's just something we've got to get better at. We're a young team and I think we're just trying to improve overall and that's one of the things we've got to improve on."
On how important it is that others step up: "It's important, I think they showed -- Khadeen could get going. Khadeen scored a good amount today. Angel was able to contribute alot today. We just need other guys to step up as well, but that's going to come. Not every day the ball goes in the basket for everyone and I think today certain people shots didn't fall and that's going to happen here and there."
On Khadeen's game-tying basket: "I tell Khadeen all the time, he has to make sure that he's aggressive. The last play where he tied up the game with the little floater that he had, the play for was for me but I told him 'I'm pretty sure they're going to make sure to take me away, so you're going to have to make sure to be aggressive.' The fact that he's able to score in multiple ways I think that's really helping us now and when Isaiah comes back it'll help even more."
On Roosevelt Jones off the dribble: "Oh my gosh, he's real tough. You can't play off him and you can't play up on him. If you play off him he's just going to throw that floater off and if you play up on him he's so strong, he's so strong, he'll put you on his hip, so he's a tough match up."
His thoughts on how they guarded Kellen Dunham: "I thought we did a great job on Dunham, we chased him off the line, it's just that he's a great player, he hit tough shots. There's nothing you can do about it."