Angel Delgado battles in low post during Seton Hall's season-opening win. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Many times on this site, it has been chronicled.
The importance of the first four minutes of the game and second half, especially the latter, cannot be undersold. Visiting FDU trailed Seton Hall by five, 33-28, at intermission. A two-possession game was striking distance for the visitors. A good start to the second half might be a key to Greg Herenda’s team pulling an upset. Seton Hall seized the opportunity to win the first four, 13-7. At the 16-minute mark FDU trailed by 11, 46-35. The manner in which Kevin Willard’s group took the first four minutes was noteworthy. Five field goals, with the wealth spread through two in the paint, two beyond the arc and a tribute to us older analysts, a mid-range jumper.
The significance lies not just in a double-digit deficit. Now, FDU got a quick reminder that the Pirates could come at you in the paint or on the perimeter. The Pirates built on that early second half momentum to post a 91-70 victory at Walsh Gymnasium. It was the regular season opener for two conference champions, FDU of the Northeast and Seton Hall in the Big East.
The tempo and numbers of note:
Possessions: FDU 72, Seton Hall 71
Offensive efficiency: FDU 97, Seton Hall 128
eFG%: FDU 47, Seton Hall 68
Free Throw Rate: FDU 26, Seton Hall 47
Offensive Rebound%: FDU 18, Seton Hall 30
Turnover Rate: FDU 14, Seton Hall 16
Leading scorers and EF:
FDU: Darian Anderson, 27 points, EF 35
Seton Hall: Khadeen Carrington, 27 points, EF 33
Carrington logged 33 minutes for a 1.00 EF per minute. The per minute leader was Angel Delgado. The Pirates’ 6-foot-10 junior forward played 29 minutes. The proverbial difference maker on this night, Delgado was a force on the blocks. Beside 22 points on 11-of-15 shooting, Delgado added a game-high 14 boards, five on the offensive end. “He has improved with his passing and cutting down on turnovers,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said of Delgado. “Now, if he’s double-teamed, he is making the right pass out of that double-team.”
FDU’s talented guard Earl Potts Jr. was out with a foot injury. Naturally, Potts was missed but Herenda admitted, “his injury did not decide the game. They were better than we were.”
The final score did not do justice. FDU battled back on a number of occasions before the Hall pulled away late. “We weathered their runs,” Herenda said. “We faced a team with a talented trio in Delgado, Carrington and (Desi) Rodriguez. Our guys played them in a tough environment and deserve a lot of credit.”
Kevin Willard found the win satisfying especially given the opposition. “They are a tough team,” Willard praised. “They battled, and for an opener, this was no easy game on the schedule.”
Willard was especially pleased with new point guard Madison Jones. The 6-foot-2 senior had 10 assists and one turnover in 31 minutes. “I would say he passed the test,” Willard said, praising a strong first time out for Jones attempting to fill some big shoes with Isaiah Whitehead now in the NBA.
Seton Hall led 52-18 on points in the paint. The Pirates’ outstanding eFG mark was aided by 8-of-16 shooting from downtown. FDU struggled matching up inside. The turnover rate of the Knights was encouraging. Willard was also happy with his own team’s rate. Seton Hall committed just two miscues after halftime as “we settled down and did not rush things offensively,” per Willard.
Seton Hall will host another NEC school, Central Connecticut, at the Prudential Center on Sunday afternoon. FDU’s next opponent is FDU-Florham, who visits the Rothman Center on Tuesday.