On the afternoon of Halloween, Isaiah Whitehead delivered treats to everyone in attendance at Walsh Gymnasium as Seton Hall defeated Baruch College in an exhibition game, 84-79.
Whitehead finished the contest with 40 points while shooting 13-of-20 from the floor, including six steals and two blocks. However, stepping in as the Pirates primary ball-handler and starting point guard, Whitehead only registered three assists.
Head coach Kevin Willard did not seem worried about Whitehead’s lack of distribution, though, and expects more of the same moving forward.
“I thought he played great,” Willard said. “All my point guards score. Jordan (Theodore) was our leading scorer, Sterling (Gibbs) was our leading scorer, Isaiah will be our leading scorer.”
The tale of the tape for this game coming in left Baruch as the clear underdog. The Division III program showed up to South Orange with a clear desire to win and led for the majority of the first half. The Bearcats held their own due to serious success shooting the deep ball, hitting 12 out of their 18 attempts from three-point land.
Leading up to the season, much of the talk surrounding the Pirates was about improving the defense. On Saturday, though, the team gave up 79 points and plenty of easy shots. Willard was not pleased with the defensive showing from his team.
“It wasn’t good defense at all. It was actually terrible,” Willard said. “We also didn’t press in the beginning of the game, and maybe we should have, but we really wanted to try and play good solid defense, which we didn’t.”
The Bearcats capitalized on the poor defensive outing by the Pirates and had five different players score in double figures. Forward Chimaechi Ekekeugbor scored a team-high 20 points for Baruch, while guard Raymond De La Cruz led the squad from downtown, shooting 4-of-5 from deep and scoring 17 points total.
Seton Hall’s starting five consisted of Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington and Derrick Gordon in the backcourt with Michael Nzei and Angel Delgado playing down low.
Absent from action were freshmen forwards Veer Singh and Myles Carter. Singh was a late-week scratch from action due to a wrist injury he suffered in practice Thursday. Willard said Singh will undergo an MRI on Monday. As for Carter, Willard spoke about his inability to get him in the game due to Baruch’s small ball play.
“Their tallest guy was 6’3”,” Willard said. “They’re used to playing certain ways and doing certain things. That’s why Mike (Nzei) and Ish (Ismael Sanogo) played most of the game, because those are our next two smallest guys and they’re both 6’8″. It was kind of tough for Myles to get in there.”
The Pirates will take the floor next on Nov. 13 at the Prudential Center against Dartmouth. Tip-off for the season-opener will be at 7 p.m.
Dennis Chambers can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @DennisChambers_.