Monday, December 13, 2010

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Longwood at Seton Hall

by Ray Floriani
NEWARK, NJ - Coming off an impressive win at UMass on Saturday, Seton Hall made it two straight with a 78-51 win over Longwood at the Prudential Center.

Outside the Rock
on a very chilly night

Pre-Game Shootaround:
Longwood, an independent, entered the game with a 3-7 record. Thy average a brisk 78 possessions per game with an efficiency margin, -7, what you would expect of a team with their record. On offense their efficiency is 104, on the opposite end the defensive efficiency is a problematic 111. Despite their fast pace their TO rate is only 19%.

Seton Hall, at 4-4 comes off an outstanding offensive effort, a 104-79 win on Saturday at UMASS. Their OE of 127 in that game was a season high. The Hall averages 71 possessions per game with a healthy +8 efficiency margin (100 on offense and 92 on defense). Kevin Willard's group has also valued the ball with an impressive 18% turnover rate.

Pace & Efficiency:

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The Four Factors:

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Turnover rates were discussed pre-game and the Hall took excellent care of the ball offensively while forcing the Lancers into an uncharacteristically poor turnover-plagued evening. The Pirates took advantage of those Longwood mistakes, enjoying a 28-8 edge in points off turnovers.

Flagman during a time out

Several are called but one was 'chosen' -- Running the break the player we want to see in possession of the ball is Jordan Theodore. He sees the floor, can orchestrate the pace of the break and has the ability to dish to the right cutter or finish if needed.

With Jeremy Hazell out coach Kevin Willard has asked Theodore to be more of a scoring point guard. The last two outings the 6-foot junior scored a career high 24 in the Arkansas loss then followed up with a 17 point 8 assists outing at UMASS. Coming into tonight's game Theodore's usage was 19% and he attempted 16% of the Pirate shots. All while averaging 12.4 points per game, the leader among the active squad (Hazell's 24.0 average still paces the club).

Herb Pope, 4 points in 14 minutes -- tried to get more involved offensively. He had a few nice moves wind up with shots rimming and falling out. Conditioning is still an issue as Pope tries to 'get his legs' and become more a factor in the offense.

Defense -- Longwood had a few easy looks the first half. Antwan Carter, the Lancers' 6-6 center, was played from behind in the post and had a lot of opportunities on the blocks. Carter finished with a team leading fifteen points but teammate contributions were few and far between.

Turnovers Feed Fast Breaks -- forced turnovers helped fuel the Hall break as the Pirates went on a tear in the latter part of the half and opened a 46-29 lead at intermission. The second half the pirates were never really threatened. Longwood did cut the deficit to nine roughly midway through the final half. The last 12 minutes the Lancers scorer 8 points and the Hall ran away with it.

Let Your Light so Shine -- a noticeable bright spot was the play of Fuquan Edwin. The freshman swingman scored a career high 17 points while adding 9 boards. Against the Longwood zone, Edwin was able to get inside the gaps of the zone and attack on the baseline. "Fu (Edwin) is understanding what a good shot is and what isn't," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "We want him to be a slasher than shoot threes not the other way around."

Patrik Auda's nine point effort has also to encourage Pirate fans. The 6-9 Pirate freshman was coming off a 10 point performance at UMass. "We call Patrik our All-American practice player," Willard said. "He kills them in practice then goes into a passing game out there. He is a good compliment to who we have on the floor and he (Auda) is starting to understand what we need from him."

Having players as Auda and Edwin continue to gain experience and fins a comfortable role will only pay dividends come Big East play.

Keep Shooting -- Longwood was 5 of 21 from three. No problem per coach Mike Gillian. Entering the game 35% of the Lancer offense came from downtown. Gillian wants his team to fire away. He would like the shots to go in, If they don't keep shooting. "The three helps us a great deal," he said. "Just taking them opens up the inside for Carter and spreads the defense for penetration. We will keep shooting them (threes)." And for their sake, making more than the 24% they shot tonight.

Longwood mentor Mike Gillian
explains his three point shooting theory

Longwood is 3-8, Seton Hall 5-4. Edwin and Theodore shared the game scoring honors with 17 points each.

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