The Seton Hall men’s basketball season got off to an unofficial start on Oct. 31 when the Hall took on Baruch College in a Walsh Gymnasium exhibition.
The Division III Bearcats gave Kevin Willard’s Pirates a scare, playing 40 minutes of competitive basketball that saw 13 lead changes. Ultimately, Seton Hall escaped with an 84-79 win. Keeping in mind that this was just a preseason scrimmage, here are the biggest takeaways from the contest.
Isaiah Whitehead Shines
The sophomore guard went off on Saturday, dropping 40 points on 13-of-20 shooting (6-10 from three). Unequivocally the best player on the court, Whitehead also tallied six blocks and two as- sists in the win.
While he had a strong game scoring and shutting down the opposition, Whitehead did show some early struggles playing floor general. Now the Hall’s point guard, Whitehead dished out just three assists, all in the second half.
Nonetheless, Willard was pleased with his overall performance.
“I though he played great,” the coach said. “All my point guards score.”
The three-point shot was an issue for SHU on both sides of the ball. Baruch was able to light up what Willard called a “terrible” Blue and White defense, connecting on 12 of 18 attempts from downtown. Raymond De La Cruz and Bryler Paige led the way, scoring 15 and 12 points, respectively, on threes alone.
Despite Whitehead’s 60 percent success rate from deep, Seton Hall’s offense combined for a 37.5 percentage on 6-of-16 shooting, as not a single other Pirate hit a longball. Khadeen Carrington (0-2) and Derrick Gordon (0-2) were the only others to attempt more than one three-point shot.
Veer Singh Hurt
A rookie wingman, Singh could be the answer to Seton Hall’s three-point problem, at least offensively.
Unfortunatley, anyone hoping to catch their first glimpse of the freshman was left disappointed on
Saturday, as Singh was inactive due to a swollen right wrist. An MRI on Monday revealed no serious damage, according to the Asbury Park Press. Just day-to-day, expect Singh to add depth to the Hall’s long-range attack this year.
“That (three point shooting) was going to be something that hurt us,” Willard said. “That was something where Veer was really helping at, especially that first group. Veer was going to start (on Saturday) until he got hurt… It’s a little bit of an issue but I think if we can get him back it won’t be.”
Free Throw Problems
Seton Hall struggled to knock down the freebies, too, going 20- of-33 (60.6 percent) from the line as a unit.
While Whitehead (8-10) and Carrington (7-10) looked fine, Gordon struggled at the charity stripe. A few other Pirates missed shots at the line as well, but none took more than two. Again, this was just a scrimmage, but 66 per- cent foul shooting was an issue for the Hall last year, too.
Ismael Sanogo Impresses
Aside from Whitehead and Carrington (15 points, six assists, four steals), Sanogo was the only other Pirate with a noticeable impact on the game.
The sophomore, who averaged a measly 5.3 minutes per game last year, was a field goal away from a double-double with 11 rebounds and eight points – including an impressive put-back dunk – after 30 minutes of action. He also had one block and one steal in the exhibition.
Gary Phillips can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @GPhillips272.