Sunday, December 13, 2015

Seton Hall 72, Saint Peter's 46: Ray Floriani's Tempo-Free Analysis

Seton Hall's Sapphires display their "game face" during player introductions. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Newark, NJ -­ A meeting between Seton Hall and Saint Peter’s can often bring the unexpected. The two schools, separated by a distance of say, 15 miles, have had an intense rivalry in the past. Today, different conference affiliations have altered priorities. Among the players, there are the ever-present ‘bragging rights’ at stake.

On this unseasonably warm afternoon, there was little drama or surprise toward the outcome. Seton Hall weathered a first half challenge, and eventually pulled away to a 72­46 victory.

First half: The shooter’s groove, the feeling that virtually anything will fall. Seton Hall started in the ‘zone’ in the first four minutes. The Pirates knocked down three three-pointers en route to a 14­-2 lead. Down a dozen points on the road four minutes in could signal the beginning of a rout, but Saint Peter’s did not panic. John Dunne’s club ran their sets, got the necessary stops, and slowly got this to a manageable deficit. At the eight-minute (remaining) mark, it was a two-possession game in the Hall’s favor. Late in the first half, the Saint Peter’s offense, predicated on dribble drive penetration, had trouble with the Hall’s size. Offensively, the Pirates were heating up again, especially from the perimeter, and with two minutes left, they owned a 16-point lead.

Halftime: Seton Hall 35, Saint Peter’s 20

Second half: The Hall scored the first five points of the half to widen the lead to 20. Inside to Angel Delgado, once double-teamed, he pitched out to Isaiah Whitehead who buried a three. Simple, when the ball goes in. At the 16-minute mark, it was 44-­22 Seton Hall. The Pirates ‘won’ the second half first four 9­-2, and the rout was then on. Unlike the first half, when Saint Peter’s was able to get back in the hunt, since the Hall began the half on their 5­-0 spurt, they maintained complete control. Through the first ten minutes of the second half with Seton Hall leading by 26, Saint Peter’s managed just two field goals and a total of seven points. Down the stretch, nothing changed. Seton Hall utilized the opportunity to get some reserve players appreciable minutes to build the depth.

Final: Seton Hall 72, Saint Peter’s 46

The numbers:
Possessions: Seton Hall 65, Saint Peter's 63
Offensive Efficiency: Seton Hall 111, Saint Peter's 73

Four Factors:
eFG%: Seton Hall 59, Saint Peter's 36
Free Throw Rate: Saint Peter's 27, Seton Hall 17
Offensive Rebound%: Saint Peter's 28, Seton Hall 32
Turnover Rate: Saint Peter's 24, Seton Hall 20

What Saint Peter's did well: Give the effort. In a tough situation, on the road and trailing for 39-plus minutes, Saint Peter’s still worked. “The effort was good for the most part,” said head coach John Dunne. “When you score 20 for the half and are down 15, it’s tough to give a defensive effort, but outside of a few possessions where the guys jogged back, (on defense) I think we did.”

What Seton Hall did well: Shoot. The Pirates enjoyed a high eFG mark, largely due to a 10-of-19 (53 percent) mark beyond the arc. Khadeen Carrington led the way on the perimeter, burying four out of five from downtown.

Leading Scorers and Effectiveness Factors:
Saint Peter's: Elias Desport (9 points, EF of 12)
Seton Hall: Khadeen Carrington (14 points, EF of 21)

Angel Delgado checked in with an effectiveness factor of 21, thanks to 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. The overall leader in EF was Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead with 23, recording 12 points, three assists, three blocks, and three steals against only one turnover for the sophomore guard.

Seton Hall’s priority was to defend Antwon Portley of Saint Peter’s. The 6­-4 freshman came in scoring a team-high 16 points per game. Consider the job well done, as Portley struggled through a two-point afternoon, shooting 1-of-8 from the floor. In a note of dubious distinction, Seton Hall’s Veer Singh fouled out after just 13 minutes of action.

Arc better than charity stripe? Seton Hall shot 40 percent (4-of-10) from the free throw line. As noted previously, the Pirates were a hot 10-of-19 (53 percent) from long range. Michael Nzei, a 6-­7 redshirt freshman, scored eight points but was the chief ‘culprit’ on the line, hitting only two of six.

With the win, Seton Hall is now 8-­2. Saint Peter’s falls to 3-­5, but with a 2-­0 MAAC record, having defeated Rider and Siena.

Final Thoughts
“When you shot 10-of-19 from three, you will beat a lot of people. We tried to keep them out of transition to give ourselves a chance to win. At times, we were a ‘deer in the headlights’ on offense. We missed shots and they made us pay. Seton Hall plays hard, rebounds well, and does not take anyone lightly.” ­- Saint Peter’s coach John Dunne

“We had good intensity. I was worried our guys might be looking to next Saturday, (with Wichita State visiting the Rock) but on two days of preparation, we did what we wanted to do. We had really good scoring balance today. We had three in double figures and were a couple points from having five (in doubles).” - ­Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard

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