At this point in the recent DePaul - Seton Hall series, I was kind of expecting what happened late last night at Allstate Arena in snowy Chicago. Seton Hall scored just one field goal over the final 15:30 of play, just one point in the final four minutes and the Blue Demons closed the game on a 12-1 run to win 75-62.
The halftime score was a point away from matching the first meeting (35-33 vs. 36-33) and Seton Hall again struggled on offense against a tall (59th in effective height) DePaul squad, this time through their critical assist-to-field goal ratio. Also like the first meeting, a Blue Demon role player hit a big-time shot, this time it was Durrell McDonald instead of Darrick Wood.
Seton Hall lost the battle on the interior. I shined a light on the likelihood of DePaul power forward Rashaun Stimage making an impact again last night and boy did he. Stimage blocked two Brandon Mobley shots and one Gibbs attempt before the first media timeout, setting the tone for the game. Mobley and Angel Delgado scored just nine points and Delgado just two attempts while DePaul won the battle in the paint 40-24. Oliver Purnell's centers only had four points, but they worked Seton Hall going to the rim and in transition as a team.
When the Hall shares the ball, they generally win. Last night, they posted a mere 27.8 assist rate, their worst since Wichita State (25%). (Note: Isaiah Whitehead was never credited with Angel Delgado's bucket at 14:16 of the first half, so the Hall's ARate should be 33%). According to Brian Otskey, this is how Seton Hall has fared in accordance with their assist rate.
Seton Hall record when its assist rate (A/FGM) is: 50% or better: 10-1 (only loss at Xav) 40% to 50%: 3-2 — Brian Otskey (@botskey) February 4, 2015
Khadeen Carrington and Jaren Sina weren't able to produce last night, combining for 9 points (4-13 fgs), 0 assists, and 4 turnovers. Whitehead had 14 points and 2 assists on 10 shots, but disrupted the offense a bit by launching threes early in the game. Not a bad first two games back as a whole.
What's up with Seton Hall's interior defense? In fairness, Kevin Willard has said in the past that he has tried to close out on three-pointer shooters and make teams score on the inside (or vice versa), so tonight could have been a game plan that just didn't pan out.
Then again, I'm not so sure.
DePaul shot 65.8% (25-38) from two, outscoring Seton Hall by 20. The Pirates have now allowed teams to shoot 65.8%, 74.4%, 51.4%, and 52.6% from two since the first DePaul game. Seton Hall is dead last in conference play at defending shots within the arc (54.7%) and first in the country shutting teams down beyond it (25.9%). Quite the extremes.
Three quotes (plus the foul):
In addition to the four quotes I provided in my game story
On Isaiah Whitehead: "I played Isaiah probably four more minutes than I wanted to and really should of. I thought he sustained it better, again trying to build up his wind. Trying to keep him out there for a four-minute stretch instead of three-minutes and let him build up his wind. It's frustrating for him because he wants to be on the court but he has to understand that we have to get to that point."
Describing the boost freshman Desi Rodriguez (9 pts, 6 rebs) provided: "I thought Desi gave us a good lift, I've got to get Desi in there more. We're going to look at that a little bit differently, playing different combinations, play a little bit bigger at times to help Angel [Delgado], get him the basketball a little bit better with different combinations out there. Because you still have to get it in to him, he can't just have two shots, he's working too hard, he's rebounding too well not to."
On Jamee Crockett killing his team over the years: "I'll be happy when I never see that kid again."
Crockett has averaged 12.4 ppg in 26 mpg in seven career games against Seton Hall (17 ppg in five of those seven games) and has scored 21 points three times. His career high is 22.
Closing statement: "I knew it [was a tough game] going in, especially the way we had to travel today, I was a little worried about that. I thought we looked a little lethargic, but I'm not going to blame it on the travel, I'm just going to blame it on the fact we didn't play very well offensively."