Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: St. Peter's versus Seton Hall

by Ray Floriani

NEWARK, NJ - The two teams entered the Monday night game at the Prudential Center with personnel issues. Seton Hall was able to get through theirs en route to a 69-49 win over St.Peter’s.

Pre-Game Shootaround
The Pirates came in averaging a brisk 71 possessions per contest. St.Peter’s, a decidedly more deliberate 63 possessions per. Early in the season a team as Seton Hall may have glowing efficiency numbers due to a mild schedule. That is not the case here as December is two days away and the Pirates have played Temple and a few other formidable teams in the Paradise Jam.

St. Peter's8095
Seton Hall9691

The defense of St.Peter’s is respectable but as was the case a year ago, Coach John Dunne’s club is just struggling to score points. A 24% TO rate and 42% eFG percentage are not exactly helping the cause.

Efficiencies for the game:

St. Peter's6575
Seton Hall64108

The Four Factors:

St. Peter's35282723
Seton Hall4612368

‘Personnel’ issues dealt with Jeremy Hazell and Wesley Jenkins. Hazell broke his wrist at the Paradise Jam and missed the Pirate losses to Xavier and Clemson. “Jeremy’s injury affected us all ,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. “But from a coaching standpoint you make adjustments. The players were devastated. They were not used to playing without him (Hazell). It was like they expected to see him come down and hit a three. It took some adjusting.” A period of practice after the Virgin Islands tournament helped the team adapt to not having Hazell, who was playing outstanding before getting injured. Willard said Hazell will see another specialist Wednesday. If surgery is not required he will be back in five weeks.

Seton Hall Coach Kevin Willard
fields questions from reporters

Wesley Jenkins injured his knee in a Fall pickup game. A torn ACL was feared. It turned out the injury was not as severe and no surgery was needed. Jenkins’ first game was Saturday against LIU. “We probably played him more than we should have,” St.Peter’s coach John Dunne said. “The knee was fine but his game conditioning wasn’t up to par.“ In the LIU game, Jenkins (played 29 minutes scoring 13 points) was needed to pull out the St.Peter’s win. In the Seton Hall game Jenkins logged 20 minutes scoring three points and grabbing a team leading six rebounds. "It’s a game conditioning thing for Wesley,” Dunne said. “He is still rounding into form."

The pace of the game actually benefited both teams. Entering the game the Hall was a uptempo. With Hazell’s injury the Pirates are more half court or as Willard says, “a grind it out team.” Willard scrapped a few sets and added several new ones during the days between Paradise Jam and St. Peter’s. He’s looking to get more scoring opportunities for Herb Pope, Jordan Theodore and Jeff Robinson.

St.Peter’s should improve offensively but right now without Jenkins at full strength, they struggle to manufacture points. Ryan Bacon, a 6-7 senior forward, was the Peacocks’ only double figure scorer with 13 points. Bacon can score inside but is averaging just over 7 PPG. He is using only 9% of the team’s possessions. The problem here is mostly foul trouble which has saddled his effectiveness in the young season. Without fouling as a problem tonight, Bacon logged 27 minutes and used 14% of the St.Peter’s possessions.

Willard was pleased with the 5 turnovers by Seton Hall which gave them an outstanding TO rate.

To get an offensive spark, Willard brought Theodore off the bench. He discussed the role with the Pirate junior who was happy with it. “Coming into the game Jordan gives us energy and a lift,” Willard said. “Also the defense gets caught off guard with his style.” To Willard, starting is not the big thing. Playing time and contributions are key and Theodore logged 25 minutes, tying Pope and Robinson in that category.

St.Peter’s zoned, 2-3 or 3-2 the whole night. Hall seemed more comfortable attacking (not just settling for jump shots) as the night wore on.

Final Bookkeeping
Hall is 3-3 while St.Peter’s falls to 2-4. Theodore (11) and Robinson (10) led the Hall in scoring.

Saw Brian Nash, former St.Bonaventure and Seton Hall assistant who most recently headed up the St.Francis(NY) program. Nash is going to games and practices these days with an eye on getting back on the sidelines. Hopefully one of the great guys in the game gets his wish.

Pregame Drills at The Rock

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