by Ray Floriani
NEWARK, NJ - Seton Hall left little doubt from the opening tap of this one. The Pirates defeated Providence 81-71 at the Prudential Center on Sunday. The Pace and efficiency:
The Four Factors:
The field goal mark of the Friars is a bit deceptive as Seton Hall played very good defense. Providence shot 4 of 19 beyond the arc . Inside they were 21 of 35, a 60% rate. A fair percentage of those came in the stretch with the Hall holding a double digit lead and in command of the contest. Marshon Brooks, Providence’s outstanding scorer, registered 20 points. Brooks however shot 8 of 17 from the floor. Credit some good defense on the part of Jeff Robinson for that.
The Hall ‘D’ (some pressure, some man and zone in half court) was rooted in PC’s 24% turnover rate as the Pirates forced 19 turnovers. Brooks alone committed 9 of them. “Turnovers were definitely our downfall,” Providence coach Keno Davis said. “Credit Seton Hall’s defense for that.” Davis also felt the Hall defense prevented his club from getting any offensive continuity in half court.
Pirates received a number of contributions in this victory. Herb Pope was a force inside with a game high 23 points, 11 rebounds in 31 minutes. It’s safe to say the junior forward is in full playing shape.
Robinson was effective inside, out and on the break. He posted 20 points 6 boards. Jeremy Hazell gave a solid 10 point 6 assist effort. The senior guard constantly looked to feed teammates often passing up a shot in the process. Jordan Theodore gave a respectable 11 point, 4 assist outing.
Seton Hall lost several games earlier in the season because of the inability to put together a 40 minute effort. That was not the case today. Some late game Providence pressure got the margin to nine but the Hall regrouped to seal the verdict.
A young team, Providence received fine performances from two talented sophomores. Center Bilal Dixon, a Jersey City native, had a 17 point, 10 rebound day. Vincent Council, had a twenty point, five assist showing at the guard spot.
Providence is 13-9 (2-7 Big East). Seton Hall improves to 10-12 (4-6). Providence host South Florida Wednesday at the ‘Dunk’. Friars defeated Louisville and Villanova in their last two games at their home facility. Pirates visit West Virginia on Wednesday a place coach Kevin Willard ‘fondly’ remembers from his playing days at Pitt and the traditional ‘backyard brawl’. “They guy (Mountaineer mascot) with the rifle drives me crazy,” Willard said. Actually, the Mountaineer defense is of paramount concern. “Coach Bob Huggins gets his teams to defend as well as anyone in the country,” Willard said. Regardless, the Hall will journey to Morgantown with a better mindset than a week or two ago. “Winning is great,” Willard said, “it’s a good feeling.”