Fuquan Edwin's double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) was just enough to propel Seton Hall past USF in 55-47 game that may not have been pretty, but still good enough for Pirates' second Big East win. (Photo courtesy of Seton Hall University)
Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard on having almost a full roster available:
"We practiced with more than seven guys for the first time in a month. Brandon (Mobley) and Brian (Oliver) were limited until yesterday. I was worried about Brian being out there too long and hurting the injured ankle again."
On Seton Hall's defensive game plan:
"We didn't want (Toarlyn) Fitzpatrick to hit any threes. We were going to give up some layups and some easy dunks, but we were going to be fine with that. We actually played a 3-2 defense tonight...we don't play the same defense every night."
On Fuquan Edwin (16 points, 10 rebounds) and playing faster:
"He needs to practice (getting) up and down, which is something we haven't done. Until we practice playing fast, we can't play fast."
On defending the three-point shot:
"I thought the three they hit at halftime was a little bit of a momentum killer. We had to grind it out a little bit. It's (defending the three) been our Achilles' heel...has been for a while. The week off really helped us. If you give me a week to prepare for you, we should be able to play some defense, and I thought we did tonight."
On Haralds Karlis and his evolution this season:
"He's starting to play at a good speed. When he slows down, he's very effective."
USF head coach Stan Heath:
"We were always in the game, we kept cutting the lead down to two and three. We didn't make shots, and that's a part of rhythm. We were 3-for-19 from three and we've been a 35 percent shooting team, so we were way off that number."
On USF's defense against Seton Hall:
"I thought it was okay...we gave up some things and forced some turnovers, but we gave up a few too many open looks for them."
On his message to the team at halftime:
"I told them that we played poorly and were down by seven. I said that in the game before, (against Georgetown) we were down by eight at halftime and we won, so we've been in that position before."
Heath's thoughts on the second half:
"When we came out of the locker room, I thought we came out of the gate hard. If we would have had a few more layups here and there, we would have cut into it more. We just needed somebody to help us a little more. We were making progress, then taking a step back. At the end of the day, our shooting just wasn't there, and we had some really good looks."
Nuggets of Note:
- Seton Hall led wire-to-wire tonight, but by no means was the game over until the final minute. The Pirates' three-point defense, called the team's "Achilles' heel" by Kevin Willard, stepped up in a big way, limiting USF to a 3-for-19 performance from beyond the arc, negating their impressive transition game that forced 17 Seton Hall turnovers and eleven steals, not to mention 10 assists from sophomore point guard Anthony Collins.
- In their first games back from a dislocated shoulder and sprained ankle, respectively, Brandon Mobley and Brian Oliver combined to score 23 points on 11-of-12 shooting. Mobley's 14 came on a 7-of-8 effort, while Oliver scored all nine of his points on a perfect 3-for-3 night from three-point range. Credit New Jersey Newsroom's Jerry Carino for tweeting this nugget shortly after the game.
- USF's rebounding woes continued tonight, as Seton Hall crushed the Bulls to the tune of a 35-22 margin on the glass despite USF managing one more offensive rebound (10-9) than they did. In an impressive display of defensive balance and hustle, every Pirate to see the court tonight grabbed at least two boards, led by Fuquan Edwin's ten.
- Defensively, this was one of the best efforts Seton Hall has had all season. The 47 points allowed was the lowest total the Pirates have yielded since giving up just 36 to UMKC in the season opener, and was the second-lowest point total surrendered all season on a night where Seton Hall limited USF to just 34 percent (19-for-56) shooting from the field.
- Now at 2-4 in the Big East and 13-6 overall, Seton Hall heads to Madison Square Garden to take on St. John's Sunday afternoon in a very winnable game for the Pirates. St. John's picked up a huge road win tonight against Rutgers, but the Red Storm have been a Jekyll and Hyde team more often than not for Steve Lavin this season, placing the onus on D'Angelo Harrison to lead the St. John's offense that has not fared well from the three-point line this season.