After a dominant first half, the Seton Hall Pirates’ guard play paved the way to a 74-60 victory over Savannah State in the Hall’s season opener on Sunday.
A two-minute drought to start the game for both teams was finally broken by a three-pointer from shooting guard JaQuan Jackson, who led all scorers with 21 points on 7-18 shooting.
The trio of Jackson, LaTecia Smith and Kaela Hilaire combined for 47 points and 10 assists. The triad of guards would drive and spark the Pirates’ offense throughout the game.
“We play really well together,” Hilaire said. “We also play off of each other. I like to get them to score first.”
Jackson’s scoring efforts in unison with Smith’s drives and free throws kept the Hall alive in the majority of the first quarter, combining for the team’s first 12 points. Jackson said more of that chemistry can be expected moving forward.
“Me and TT, our work ethic is just tremendous,” Jackson said. “That’s my roommate, so we have a lot of sit-downs and talks. Its more of just getting everybody on the same page as us.”
Just as Savannah State secured a 13-12 lead, Hilaire, a freshman, utilized her quickness and tight handle to convert two layups in the first quarter. It would be much of the same for the young guard throughout the day, as she finished with 10 points and six assists.
— The Setonian Sports (@SetonianSports) November 11, 2016
Another freshman, Jayla Jones-Pack, made an impact for the Pirates in the paint with three blocks on the day. The Hall also had 14 steals on defense, including a game-high of five from Smith.
“We’re playing that zone and I think for us right now, as you can see, we’re still not ready to play man,” coach Tony Bozzella said. “So we gotta be effective in the zone and we did have 14 steals – led to a lot of points.”
As the Pirates move forward, Bozzella’s team will continue to rely on their young guards and defense. The Hall will travel to Marist on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Kyle Kasharian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash