After coming up short in their third straight true road test last night, because playing at South Florida doesn't classify as one in my book, it's time to dig a little deeper into Seton Hall's difficulties on the road.
In their three road losses, the Hall is averaging just 57.6 ppg compared to 74 in their 12 wins. They were efficient when they weren't turning the ball over against Wichita State (18 TOs), but didn't really heat up until the game was out of hand. In their road loss to Georgia, the Pirates were consistently poor offensively (.68 points per possession), while they faltered early and late last night.
It's notable that Isaiah Whitehead was healthy for the Wichita State game, not 100-percent for Georgia, and unavailable against Xavier last night.
Kevin Willard said post-game how his team took a lot of tough shots and turned it over at key times, resulting in easy Xavier transition baskets.
"In the first half, we had a couple turnovers that led to their transition, that really hurt us," said Willard. "And we just took a lot of challenged shots, off the first reversal, not ball faking, getting in the lane and kicking out."
Willard added how Xavier, especially guard Remy Abell, did a good job on Sterling Gibbs by not allowing him to drive. James Farr, Jalen Reynolds, and even Matt Stainbrook did a good job of shuffling their feet and not letting Gibbs turn the corner on them last night whenever Seton Hall set one of their numerous screens.
"It's going to be a good learning lesson for all three of them," said Willard of his guards. "When you're playing good and you're playing a lot of minutes, they're not just going to give you easy shots."
"They did a good job," said Willard of Xavier's defense. "The kid Remy Abell is a very good defender, he did a good job on D`Vauntes Smith-Rivera [before us]."
With that in mind, here are a few instances of Seton Hall taking tough shots, Xavier not letting Sterling Gibbs drive, and Pirate turnovers that led to a 68-59 loss. I also included a log of all of Seton Hall's possessions last night.
19:41, first half - We've seen Brandon Mobley become jumpshot happy early in games, and last night was no different. In Seton Hall's very first possession, Mobley took a contested three halfway into the shot clock after Gibbs couldn't find space after a Chier Ajou screen. This encapsulated most of the first half offensive struggles for Seton Hall.
10:01, first half - Seton Hall attempted 26 threes last night, the most in a game this season. A lot of the threes were not high percentage, just like this Khadeen Carrington attempt.
3:25, first half - Jaren Sina takes a contested step-back three that results in a Xavier transition basket. These are the kind of buckets that Willard referred to last night as directly hurting the team.
11:34, second half - This was just a result of Xavier defending well for 30+ seconds and Seton Hall losing track of the shot clock. Can't happen on the road.
4:35, second half - Sina takes a very tough contested runner late in the shot clock. This is during the sequence that Xavier pulled away in the second half.
Xavier containing Sterling Gibbs:
17:51, first half - Seton Hall set a ton of screens for Gibbs early, including two on this possession. Gibbs isn't even able to penetrate into the arc (he's swarmed in this shot), forcing a tough Angel Delgado hook shot over Stainbrook late in the shot clock.
2:50, first half - Great example of Stainbrook guarding Gibbs well off of a screen. Stainbrook forces Gibbs to the perimeter, where he misses a three and Xavier scores in transition.
6:25, second half - Again Gibbs is denied space on two screens, then Brandon Mobley picks up his fifth foul trying to create space in the paint. Seton Hall would not recover.
7:20, first half - Very simple pass just dropped by Delgado. Xavier scores easily.
10:20/9:05, second half - The first of two turnovers within 90 seconds for Khadeen Carrington. They did not result in any immediate points for Xavier.
6:55/6:25, second half - Very poor turnover from Karlis here. Completely misses Sina on the pass. The next turnover in 30 seconds and one that really did Seton Hall in was Mobley's offensive foul and fifth personal.
Xavier's guards are consistently able to stay in front of Sterling Gibbs on switches, and when they weren't, Matt Stainbrook and James Farr were able to do the job with lateral quickness. This was a big improvement off of what we saw from Villanova and St. John's.
As documented above and in the log below, Xavier did a lot of damage in transition off turnovers and ill-advised shots. That's more or less the story line from last night. Seton Hall didn't use the shot clock wisely at times, probably didn't utilize Angel Delgado enough on the block, and had a handful of unforced errors on the road.
Seton Hall offensive possession log:
Time stamps indicate the beginning of a possession
19:41 - Ajou sets screen for Gibbs, covered well, passes to Sina to Mobley, contested three halfway into shot clock
18:46 - Ajou sets another high screen for Gibbs, can't penetrate within arc. Another late screen set, Gibbs takes very tough mid-range runner, misses.
17:51 - Two more screens set for Gibbs, again not able to get even within the arc. Delgado isolated on block, but misses tough hook over Stainbrook late in shotclock.
17:03 - Gibbs takes moving three at 23 on shot clock. Nothing ran here.
16:20 - Ball reversed a few times along arc, Mobley misses baseline under the basket shot. Delgado scores offensive board.
15:41 - Mobley hits tough hook from near elbow.
14:49 - Mobley on same block again, misses another hook. Gets rebound, Mobley air balls quick but decent look at three. Fouls Macura running back on D.
13:50 - Delgado grets good position on the block, scores basket.
13:30 - Rodriguez drives, kicks to Manga who takes contested three, misses.
12:45 - Good offense ran, Gibbs able to find an open Desi Rodriguez for three off drive. Misses, scores on offensive rebound.
12:06 - Guards not able to get separation on switches, Carrington turns over in lane, Xavier scores in transition.
11:45 - Sina finds space off switch, crosses over defender, hits long two.
10:50 - Sina gets into paint a little, finds Gibbs for OK three from corner. Quick into shot clock.
10:01 - Seton Hall not able to find much through passing on perimeter + Delgado screen. Carrington takes fairly tough three from wing. Bluiett scores in transition, Carrington tries to take charge.
9:30 - Sina airballs tough three, Mobley gets ball and is fouled on shot.
9:00 - Delgado gets good position on block, scores off iron. Sina finds him.
8:41 - Karlis hits open three, Delgado finds him from FT line.
8:15 - Karlis able to find Gibbs for fairly good three look, misses. Good ball movement.
7:45 - Karlis makes another three from straight away.
7:20 - Delgado fumbles pass from Karlis, Xavier scores easily in transition.
7:00 - Gibbs finds Karlis for basket on slip.
6:29 - Desi Rodriguez takes tough shot on a drive.
5:45 - No space found off late ball screen, Rodriguez can't drive, Sina turns it over on drive at end of shot clock
4:55 - Seton Hall turns it over trying to score quickly, results in Gibbs flagrant on Xavier break.
4:30 - Very high screen set for Gibbs, can't go anywhere. Anthony hits nice shot off post move.
3:25 - Sina takes step back three late in shot clock, Gibbs can't find anything off two drive attempts again. Xavier scores in transition.
2:50 - Stainbrook closes off Gibbs on a drive, misses three. Xavier scores in transition.
2:13 - Xavier plays tough defense, Manga misses layin on late drive in shot clock. Goaltending call on transition bucket.
1:33 - Gibbs fouled by Stainbrook on drive.
1:18 - Gibbs finally able to get into paint, finds Delgado accidentally for basket.
:36.5 - Carrington takes tough pull-up from elbow, Rodriguez scores offensive board.
19:31 - Gibbs able to take on James Farr, finds Sina for missed three on perimeter.
19:10 - Good ball movement, Karlis dunks from drive.
18:15 - Sina makes transition three.
17:40 - Delgado scores off screen with Gibbs
17:00 - Good ball movement, Delgado fouled by Stainbrook (3rd) under basket. Couple decent looks passed up on perimeter.
16:30 - Sina fumbles ball away in transition
16:17 - Karlis takes defender off dribble, Mobley fouled on slam from nice pass, misses both FTs
15:23 - Delgado misses forced shot from lane, Seton Hall scores by getting loose ball after miss
14:15 - Gibbs drives and takes mid-range shot early in shot clock -- first basket
13:40 - Delgado fouled; Carrington called for travel on drive
12:45 - Carrington makes three from kick out off broken play
12:10 - Mobley makes corner three from Gibbs hand off that followed screen.
11:34 - Nothing created, Gibbs takes very long three late in shot clock. Carrington fouled on offensive reobund.
10:53 - Carrington able to find separation off switches, scores on drive
10:20 - Carrington turns it over on drive later in shot clock.
9:30 - Sina misses decent look from corner three
9:05 - Carrington turns it over on drive
8:33 - Sina finds Mobley on ball reversal for OK look from wing, misses. Remy Abell hits quick three
8:00 - Seton Hall pushes it in transition, Carrington misses runner. Xavier hits transition three
7:30 - Gibbs hit straight away three in defenders face
6:55 - Karlis turns ball over on easy pass to Sina
6:25 - Gibbs not able to drive twice on screens, Mobley called for offensive foul getting position in paint, fouls out. Xavier scores in next possession.
5:40 - Gibbs hit another big-time three with hand in face
4:35 - Sina takes really tough shot off side of backboard late in shot clock...
3:20 - Gibbs tries to take defender off dribble, turns it over, Xavier fouled in transition
3:05 - Sina misses open three off Karlis down screen, Rodriguez fouled on OReb. Xavier scores early in shot clock
2:25 - Rodriguez scores baseline basket