Kevin Willard is much more positive with this year's Seton Hall team, especially after Pirates' hard-fought 78-76 win over valiant Kent State. (Photo courtesy of the New York Post)
Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard on Kent State:
"That's a good basketball team. We knew if we gave up threes, we were going to struggle. I think it's good to be tested anytime, as long as you win the game."
On Seton Hall's performance:
"Our second half defense needs to improve. The dribble penetration was something that really killed us. We kept trying to give them the game. That was a little crazy, to be honest with you. We've got to work on that. The one play we watched that I'm mad about was when (Kris) Brewer (28 points) hit the three in the corner. Patrik (Auda, 15 points) got burned on that one. I don't think we're shooting the ball as well as we're capable of shooting it."
On Seton Hall's 43 foul shots and being in the bonus early in both halves:
"If you're in the bonus at 15 minutes, you've got to make your free throws."
On Eugene Teague (4 points, 9 rebounds):
"I'd like to get him ten, eleven shots, but we've got to do it to where we give him opportunities to score."
On Patrik Auda:
"This is the player I've always envisioned, he's in such great shape. He's a little gun shy shooting the ball from the outside, but he's been terrific."
On Jaren Sina (4 points, 2 assists):
"He's going to be special in my opinion."
Nuggets of Note:
- Four Pirates ended the night in double figures, led by Sterling Gibbs, whose 20 points paced Seton Hall. In addition, Fuquan Edwin had 19, Patrik Auda chipped in with 15 in what qualifies as one of the best games the Czech import has ever played, and Brian Oliver had 11 points.
- Kent State, much to their credit after defeating Temple in a hostile environment at the Liacouras Center on Monday, nearly stole another road win thanks to Kris Brewer's 28 points on 9-of-12 shooting and 4-for-4 performance from three-point range. The Golden Flashes were done in by their 31 personal fouls, which sent Seton Hall to the free throw line 43 times, where the Pirates converted 32 of their attempts.
- Kevin Willard's defensive-oriented gameplan was executed well for the most part, as Seton Hall crushed Kent State on the defensive glass to the tune of 29-18, and outrebounded the Golden Flashes 36-22 in general. All but two Pirates registered at least one board, with Eugene Teague's nine being the team high.
- Patrik Auda looks like he is indeed in the best shape of his life after his 15-point outing. The fourth-year junior had great form on his shots throughout the night, living up to the predictions and hype bestowed upon him in the preseason.
- Finally, some tempo-free stats courtesy of college basketball Renaissance Man and our staff photographer Ray Floriani: Seton Hall ended the game with an offensive efficiency rating of 120, after a 117 rating in the first half, while Kent State managed a 109 rating for the game and 87 through the opening stanza. In addition, the Pirates' free throw rate (total free throw attempts divided by total field goal attempts) was 110 percent, (43 divided by 39) while Kent State's was just 32 percent. (18 divided by 57)