Seton Hall defeats NJIT at the Prudential Center
The Pirates bounced back from a road loss to LSU with a home win over NJIT, 68-59, behind another double-double from the team’s leading scorer junior forward Fuquan Edwin. The win improved the Pirates’ record to 6-2.
“I really don’t focus on that,” Edwin said. “I don’t focus on scoring at all; I let it come to me. I worry about defense because I know my defense will take care of my offense.”
After a first half that included 18 points from Edwin, the forward finished the game 8-11 from the field and going 4-6 from behind the arc, good for 22 points. But head coach Kevin Willard said the needs to see his starters to continuously feed the ball to Edwin throughout the game, and not just the first half.
“The starting unit needs to understand who they are and who is on the floor,” Willard said. “That starting unit needs to get Fuquan and Eugene Teague the basketball and feed off those guys. They aren’t doing that right now. That’s something we need to address, because we need Fuquan to get going.”
Along with Edwin hitting from downtown, senior guard Kyle Smyth went 4-4 from 3-point land, finishing second on the team in scoring with 13 points. Williard said he understands Smyth’s value to the team, and being able to make things stick.
“He’s a great glue guy,” Willard said. “He’s a guy everybody likes playing with because when you pass to him he gets an assist. He was valuable the second he stepped on campus.”
Smyth attributes his solid shooting night to his teammates being able to get the ball to him on open looks.
“A couple of those guys, Aaron Cosby and Fuquan Edwin, found me.” Smyth said. “Those are the guys that really make the plays happen. They make the drives in to the middle of the lane and I just have to knock down a shot.”
The Pirates again struggled from the foul line, hitting 17-28 as a team, good for 60 percent. Edwin expressed that the team works every day in practice on free throws, and that tonight just wasn’t their night.
“We’re improving on that every day in practice,” Edwin said. “Everybody shoots their free throws in practice. It was a night where it just wasn’t falling for us.”
NJIT junior guard Chris Flores led all scorers on the night with 23 points on 9-22 shooting.
“Flores has turned his game on tremendously,” Edwin said. “He worked on his game and got much better. He’s a good player.”
Junior forward Brian Oliver suffered from another poor shooting night, going 1-10 from the field and 0-7 from behind the arc. Despite the rough stretch, neither Willard nor Oliver seemed to be too worried.
“Not concerned at all because I know how well he can shoot the basketball,” Willard said. “Brian’s problem is he is never ready to shoot the basketball.”
Oliver acknowledged his rough stretch, but said he’s been shooting well in practice and hopes it will translate to the game floor soon.
“Yeah what’re you going to do man,” Oliver said. “I seem to be having a lot of them lately, but it’s coming along. I’ve been shooting well in practice so it’s something that’s going to come.”
The Pirates will take on Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Saturday at 7p.m.
Dennis Chambers can be reached at Dennis.Chambers@student.shu.edu.