The scoreboard tells the story after Seton Hall holds off Wichita State at Prudential Center. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)
First half: Wichita State ‘won’ the first four minutes, 10-6. Coach Gregg Marshall seemed content with a half court pace to open things. Seton Hall looked to get out and run, but the Shockers did a nice job of not getting pulled into the faster tempo. Wichita State opened up a 10-point lead with just over 12 minutes to go. Marshall was not totally against transition, as a few opportunity breaks by the visitors yielded open threes. The Shockers were clicking on all offensive cylinders, getting great shots out of their motion sets. From the 12-to 7-minute mark, Seton Hall had only three field goals, all by Isaiah Whitehead. The Shockers led by 11 as the half headed into the stretch. The final four minutes of the half saw Wichita State score just one field goal, an Anton Grady post-up with three seconds to go. At the half it was 40-32 Wichita State, and Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard was probably happy to be down ‘only’ eight. In a 34-possession half, the Shockers enjoyed a 121-94 offensive efficiency advantage.
Second half: After four minutes, it was 43-36 Wichita State. The Pirates ‘won’ those four by a 4-3 margin. Missed opportunities, however, were the theme of these four minutes. Seton Hall had a few great opportunities during this short juncture, only to come up empty with several near-misses. Wichita State entered the game shooting 31 percent from three. Given the shot, they will take it. Today, they were hitting it at a 53 percent clip (7-of-15) by the 13-minute mark, playing no small part in their nine-point lead at that juncture. Seton Hall made it a two-possession game near the eight-minute mark. The Pirates pressed after scores, a good idea to add disruption to a Shocker team already feeling their hold on the game slipping, and took the lead just after the eight-minute media timeout.
An interesting dynamic was seeing how Wichita State would respond after losing a double-digit lead on the road. The Shockers rebuilt a few brief leads, but each time, Seton Hall responded. This one was not settled with a ‘mere’ 40 minutes, as overtime ensued with the score tied, 67-67.
Overtime: A Fred VanVleet three drew first blood for Wichita State. Seton Hall answered. The pace on both ends slowed a bit. Fatigue? No, teams not wanting to waste possessions with careless turnovers. There are 48 seconds left, you are down three, and the shot clock just started. Why foul and lose one of your best players? Wichita State did just that, with VanVleet picking up his fifth and final foul. Seton Hall just had to seal it on the line. Markis McDuffie, a St. Anthony’s product, hit a three with four seconds to go, cutting the Hall's lead by two. However, Desi Rodriguez was fouled off the inbounds, and made two foul shots to ice the game.
Final: Seton Hall 80, Wichita State 76
Possessions: Wichita State 77, Seton Hall 80
Offensive Efficiency: Wichita State 99, Seton Hall 100
eFG: Wichita State 52, Seton Hall 48
FT Rate: Wichita State 22, Seton Hall 63
O-REB %: Wichita State 37, Seton Hall 29
Turnover Rate: Wichita State 27, Seton Hall 21
What Wichita State did well: Shoot, specifically from long range, hitting 14 of 30 for a 46 percent clip. Fred VanVleet was especially dangerous, burying four of six from distance.
What Seton Hall did well: Take care of business inside. The Pirates had a 36-16 edge in the lane. That went a long way toward drawing fouls, resulting in 35 free throw attempts.
Leading Scorers and Effectiveness Factors
Wichita State: Fred VanVleet (19 points, EF of 21)
Seton Hall: Desi Rodriguez (18 points, EF of 24)
The overall EF leader was Isaiah Whitehead with 27. The Seton Hall backcourt star scored 17 points with five rebounds and a surprising four blocked shots, half of the Pirate total of eight.
Wichita State was proficient on the perimeter, but the flip side was attempting just 14 free throws. As noted, Seton Hall had more than twice the number of tries from the charity stripe. Simply put, getting inside can get you on the line.
The Hall also forced Wichita State into a 27 percent turnover rate. The Pirates were better in the turnover rate, but that is deceptive. The Shockers capitalized on the 17 Pirate turnovers with a 29-13 advantage in points off turnovers.
Style points do not count. Wichita State led for 35 minutes in this contest, yet fell to 5-4. Seton Hall improved to 8-2.
“The first half was my fault. We watched a lot of tape and tried to do something to counteract them (Wichita State). They are so well coached, they prepared and knew our plays. Second half, we just got back to doing what we do best, keeping it simple. We are best running. They (Wichita State) make it tough executing in half court. Overall, I think we took a big step in the right direction.” - Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard