Greg Herenda addresses media following Friday's season opener at Seton Hall. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The game, interviews and the like were done.
Greg Herenda was now chatting with well wishers on the floor of Walsh Gymnasium. His FDU team dropped a 91-70 opener to Seton Hall. Forget any discussion of moral victories. That is not in Herenda’s lexicon. There was, though, something positive to take away from this contest.
“We battled,” Herenda said with hushed tones. “I like that, especially playing in this environment.” Seton Hall threatened to pull away on several occasions. Each time, the Knights regrouped and battled back to get the deficit to one or two possessions. Down the stretch, the battle of attrition took its course as the Pirates pulled away.
A number of observers pointed to Angel Delgado as the difference maker on this night. He was a force on the boards and an offensive threat down low that FDU was unable to solve. “We made him look great,” Herenda said in jest of the Pirate junior. “No, really. He is a great player and showed why.” Delgado finished with 22 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, five of them offensive. Suffice to say, there are no Angel Delgados lurking in the NEC. That is not an indictment of the conference, whose Wagner team defeated UConn on this very night. It is a simple fact. Delgado is an elite Big East player. Facing competition like that should bode well down the road for the Knights.
Mike Holloway, a strong inside threat heavily counted on by the Knights, struggled matching up with Delgado. Hampered by foul trouble, Holloway scored seven points, grabbing one rebound in 17 minutes of action.
Coupling the interior woes all was not ideal on the perimeter. Herenda was without outstanding junior guard Earl Potts Jr., out with an injury. The FDU coach naturally missed Potts’ scoring and leadership, but added that his presence would not have altered the outcome.
Individually, FDU received an outstanding performance at the guard spot from Darian Anderson. The junior guard poured in 27 points, hitting four of eight shots from beyond the arc to tie him with Khadeen Carrington of Seton Hall for game scoring honors. Collectively, Herenda was impressed in the fact the Knights committed only 10 turnovers; good enough for an excellent 14 percent turnover rate, in a tough road environment.
Still, it all gets back to the final result. In this case, it is responding and correcting that which needs improvement. On Tuesday, FDU will host FDU-Florham. Then on Friday, another test: A visit to Rose Hill to take on the Fordham Rams. A year ago, the two faced each other, Fordham won handily. This time, FDU travels to the Bronx with a much more confident group. “We are better than last year,” FDU assistant Bruce Hamburger said. “I think Fordham will be a test, but they are a team we match up better with this time around.”
Confidence. Something FDU showed on Friday at Walsh, something Herenda admits his team has. In the end, it boils down to the final score. “No matter what is said,” he added, “we don’t take losing lightly.”