The Sapphires entertain Seton Hall fans at Walsh Gym during Pirates' 69-59 win over Wagner. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
South Orange, NJ - Coming off an opening night win against Dartmouth on Friday, Seton Hall hosted Wagner (who dropped their opener at St. John’s) at Walsh Gymnasium. The Pirates made it two straight with a 69-59 victory over the Seahawks.
The first four minutes: Seton Hall ‘won’ the first four 12-3. Transition and attacking the basket did the job on the offensive end. Defensively, the Hall full-court pressured. The press was not designed as much to get steals, but simply to slow Wagner down and make the initiation of the offense more difficult.
At the half: A 42-26 lead for the Pirates. Wagner hung around in the two-three possession range. Late in the half, Seton Hall found separation. Two three-pointers, a traditional and jump shot, (at the buzzer) by Desi Rodriguez in the final minute opened things up. In addition, the Wagner offense sputtered as the Seahawks rushed and/or took ill-advised shots.
Possessions: Seton Hall 37, Wagner 35
Offensive Efficiency: Seton Hall 114 Wagner 74
After the half, Wagner won the first four minutes 6-2, cutting the deficit to ten. Seton Hall regrouped from that slow start, never allowing their Northeast Conference visitors to draw closer than a three-possession deficit.
Corey Henson, supplying much of the points from the guard spot, hit a three with just over three minutes to play, cutting Wagner’s deficit to nine. The Hall closed it out on the charity stripe to finish the weekend sweep.
Possessions: Wagner 71, Seton Hall 74
Offensive Efficiency: Wagner 83 Seton Hall 93
What Seton Hall did well: Get to the line. For the second straight game, the Pirates showed the ability to get in the lane and draw foulks. Unlike Friday, when they missed 21 of 43 free throws, today they capitalized with a 24-for-28 (86%) showing on the line.
What Wagner did well: Force turnovers. After Friday’s victory, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard warned that turnovers would be a problem. Of the 23 (31% TO rate) Hall turnovers, Wagner generated a dozen on steals. Unforced errors or not, give the Seahawks credit to be in position to capitalize on the opposing miscues.
Wagner was guilty of 20 turnovers, a 28% rate. In all, the turnovers did their damage, but not as severe as expected. Seton Hall actually had a 23-22 edge in points off turnovers.
Wagner: Corey Henson, 17 points (efficiency 16)
Seton Hall: Isaiah Whitehead, 18 points (efficiency 12)
Seton Hall’s 6-6 sophomore forward Desi Rodriguez, with a 15-point, 8-rebound night, had a game-high efficiency of 23. Ismael Sanogo (11) and Angel Delgado (10) of Seton Hall paced all rebounders. As a team Wagner owned a 38-31% advantage in offensive rebounding percentage.
Despite the percentage edge, Wagner did not do as much damage as expected inside. Their field goal percentage from two-point range was 17-of-41, for 42%. They did come out on top 15-4 in transition points, so an appreciable amount of those points inside were due to fast breaks as opposed to posting up or converting offensive boards.
“They turned up their pressure against us ,(second half) we got a little ‘casual’ with the basketball, but turnovers really hurt us. They (turnovers) took away the chance to go on runs. It is something we really have to work on.” - Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard