Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: Breaking Down Seton Hall vs Massachusetts

by Ray Floriani

NEWARK, NJ - Seton Hall improved to 7-0 with a resounding victory over UMass 86-68 at the Prudential Center. The loss dropped the Minutemen to 4-5. Even though the Hall lit the board up for nearly 90 points, the story of this game was defense. The first half numbers:

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Seton Hall held UMass to 19% shooting from the floor including 0 for 12 from three. UMass did heat up in the second half, shooting 9 of 17 from three, but the issue was already well in hand with the Pirates enjoying leads, in the 20-30 point range. For the evening, it was an 80 possession game. No surprise as both clubs play in the 70s pace wise. The final efficiency saw Seton Hall with a comfortable 108-85 advantage The Four Factors:

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Ricky Harris and Anthony Gurley led UMass with 15 points each. The big story was the Hall’s Herb Pope. He spent the prior evening virtually up all night with an illness. By game day Pope was doubtful but after visiting the trainer started to feel a little better. Coach Bobby Gonzalez told Pope to raise his fist when he was tired and needed a substitution. The fist never raised as Pope played 32 minutes, leading all scorers with 22 points while adding 16 rebounds. The 6-8 sophomore even stepped out and hit 2-2 from three point range.

At this point the Hall is playing very well and will soon add Memphis transfer Jeff Robinson and reinstate Keon Lawrence. The area needing attention is free throw shooting. It was another subpar night from the line as the pirates shot 20 of 39. It didn’t make a difference last night but could in the one or two possession wars of the Big East.

"A lot of people talk about our non-conference schedule but we are doing what we should, score in the 80s and hold the opposition in the 60s." -- Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez

"We want our big men involved. We had looks inside but just didn’t finish." -- UMass coach Derek Kellogg.

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