SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The season started with a weekend homestand, consisting of one game at the Rock and one on campus adding up to a 2-0 sweep for Seton Hall. A few observations from it are in order.
1. Not your easy “cupcake” competition. On Friday Seton Hall defeated Dartmouth 84-67 at the Prudential Center. Sunday the friendly confines of on-campus Walsh Gymnasium hosted the Pirates’ 69-59 decision over Wagner. In the estimation of Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard, neither game was a sure “easy out.” “Dartmouth had a seven-game win streak and defeated Yale last season,” Willard said. “Wagner poses problems as their pressure did in the second half. Honestly, we do not have an easy one on our schedule. The way college basketball is these days you need you ‘A’ game every night.”
2. The numbers. Seton Hall owned a 114-89 offensive efficiency edge against Dartmouth. The Wagner meeting saw the difference being 93-83 in the Hall’s favor. The offense fluctuated as the figures show. The defense, with both games holding opponents under 90, was an excellent showing.
3. Turnovers. After the Dartmouth game Willard admitted “we will be a turnover prone team.” Following the Wagner game he was more determined about addressing the situation noting, “turnovers are killing our chances of getting a run and building substantial leads.” Again, the numbers. The Dartmouth game saw 20 Hall turnovers for a 27 percent TO rate. Wagner forced the Pirates into 23 turnovers for an astronomical 31% rate. Remember, offenses aspire the keep the rate under 20 percent (that is a turnover every five possessions). The numbers shown by Willard’s club were woefully unacceptable.
4. Individually: Isaiah Whitehead scored 18 each contest. The Hall Sophomore guard handed out 11 assists against six turnovers for the weekend… Ismael Sangoro looked good inside. “Ish (Sangoro) had a very good Summer,” Willard said. “He has worked hard and is much improved.” Desi Rodriguez looked good adjusting to the wing. He was able to get in the lane continuously, thus creating havoc on the defense… Angel Delgado battled inside (17 boards for two games). Willard would like the offense to look inside in half court to Delgado, something the coach feels will come in time.
5. Managing the game. Both times out the opposition was in a position to make a second-half move. And in both cases the Hall was able to close it out. The Dartmouth game saw the Pirates wear down the Ivy representatives down the stretch to post a 17-point win, not indicative of the game’s competitiveness. Wagner trimmed the deficit to single digits late before the Pirates sealed it on the charity stripe.
6. Final notes: Wagner guard Corey Henson sparked the late Seahawk run, pacing them with 17 points… Impressed with Evan Boudreaux of Dartmouth. The 6-8 freshman, whose mom was a standout at Dartmouth, scored a game-high 25 points, showing an ability to convert inside and hit the perimeter shot as well. He’s definitely one to watch in the Ivy this season.