The Seton Hall men’s basketball team took home its first win of the season with an 84-67 victory over the Dartmouth Big Green on Friday night. Sophomore Isaiah Whitehead helped lead the way with 18 points, five rebounds and a career-high eight assists.
“I think he’s got to be more aggressive and start shooting the basketball early on, rather than force it,” head coach Kevin Willard said about Whitehead’s performance. “For your first game, with 18 and eight, that’s a pretty good start to your sophomore year.”
The game started off in a back-and-forth fight for the lead as it changed 10 times in the first half. Starters for the Hall were all sophomores in Ismael Sanogo, Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington, Desi Rodriguez and Whitehead.
Just three minutes into the first half, graduate guard Derrick Gordon and freshman wing Veer Singh entered the game for the Pirates.
Although it previously reported he would not play due to a wrist injury, the freshman came off the bench with a lightly wrapped wrist, took one shot and had three rebounds in the game.
Sanogo, who did not see much action for the Pirates last year, came in with an impressive first half. In the first half alone, he had four points, four rebounds and three blocks.
“I’ve been raving about Ish all summer. I think he played with a lot of composure and a lot of energy tonight,” Willard said.
The amount of first-half turnovers accounted for the constant lead changes. The Pirates finished with 11 on the half while Dartmouth came close behind with eight. The Pirates ended up finishing the game with 20 turnovers.
“It just can’t happen,” Whitehead said. “We have to take care of the ball and be more stable with the ball. I think that will help us out a lot.”
Dartmouth freshman Evan Boudreaux proved to be tough for the Pirates to defend, as he came up with seven of the Big Green’s 15 points with eleven minutes to play in the first half. He ended the half with 12 points and four rebounds.
Michael Dowdy Jr, a junior guard who walked onto the Pirates’ team this season, saw his first college playing time with under two minutes to go in the first half.
At the half, the Pirates led the Big Green 39-33. Whitehead led the team in first-half scoring with 12 points. Rodriguez followed with seven. Carrington only saw seven minutes on the court in the first half due to foul trouble and came out with just two points.
Once the second half got underway, the Hall kept its lead steady and managed to maintain a lead over Dartmouth for the entirety of the half.
The team’s issues with free throws carried on throughout the entire game. SHU finished the game shooting 22-of-43 from the charity stripe.
“We definitely need to work on free throws. I think if we would’ve hit our free throws, we would’ve been up 15 points at halftime,” Whitehead said.
The Hall ended up finishing the game with four players scoring in double digits. Along with Whitehead, Carrington finished with 13, Rodriguez had 12 and Gordon had 14.
In Gordon’s debut game for the Hall, Willard was more than impressed with the way he played, being that Gordon had sprained his ankle on Monday during practice.
“That’s Derrick on one leg and when he gets back to being bouncy and healthy, that’s what he’s going to give you. That’s what I love about Derrick. He’s always in attack mode. He played wonderful,” Willard said.
The Pirates will be back in action in Walsh Gymnasium on Sunday to take on Wagner. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill