With the opportunity to make amends for last season’s loss to No. 21 University of Oregon, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team sputtered on the court again. The Pirates started the match slow, allowing Oregon to go on a 9-0 run after Myles Cale opened the match with a three-point shot and struggling to get Sandro Mamukelashvili involved in the game.
Despite outscoring the Ducks 16-15 in the final five minutes of the game, the Pirates were handed an 83-70 loss on the night. Seton Hall went 24-52 from the field with 17 turnovers throughout the match while Oregon went 31-58 from the field with 14 turnovers. Oregon’s consistent press high up the court also forced Seton Hall into a few uncomfortabel situations in finding their rhythm going forward and building out from the back.
It was another tough night for Seton Hall going forward as it took Mamukelashvili 15 minutes to score his first basket of the night. Mamukelashvili, Myles Cale and Jared Rhoden combined for nine points, each with three, and shot 3-11 from the field at the end of the first half.
It’s the second consecutive game in which the Georgian forward took 15 minutes to score his first basket of the night after his slow start against the University of Rhode Island on Wednesday. Mamukelashvili finished the game with 10 points, sic rebounds and four assists, three of which provided Shavar Reynolds with open looks from three-point range.
Cale started both halves brightly, scoring a three-point shot to open the game and then two consecutive three-point shots to start the second half for the Pirates. However, the Delaware-native shot 4-10 from the field and was not helped by an equally quiet night from Rhoden. Rhoden shot 3-7 from the field and finished with just 10 points.
Reynolds had another strong performance at point guard in the absence of Harvard graduate transfer Bryce Aiken, scoring a career-high 17 points against Oregon. He also did well to create for his teammates with a tied career-high eight assists as well, capping off a strong all-around individual performance from Reynolds.
Takal Molson and Tyrese Samuel did their best to provide the Pirates with a little bit of extra energy off the bench, but the Pirates were stuck in the mud going forward for most of the match. Molson provided the Pirates with eight points, a rebound and an assist in the first half, but he struggled to provide the same output in the second half. Samuel put in good shifts in either half, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and an assist while shooting 2-3 from behind the arc.
- Four games into the season, and Seton hall are yet to figure out the offensive game plan in their post-Myles Powell era. Two-week quarantine period and pandemic circumstances taken into consideration, there is still a lack of clear identity for what this team looks like going forward. Perhaps Aiken’s return to the lineup will provide the extra bit of clarity the team needs to get thing clicking on offense, but the pressure is on for Cale, Mamukelashvili and Rhoden to figure things out until then.
- Ike Obiagu is struggling on both sides of the court. Despite committing just one personal foul against Oregon, Obiagu played 17 minutes against the Ducks. He often clogged the paint on offense and generally struggled to provide the physical presence he gave the Pirates defensively last season when filling in for Romaro Gill. He only played fewer minute so far this season at Iona where he played 13 minutes after being on three fouls.
- Reynolds has proved he can hold his own at point guard. Aside from his second half against URI where he was taken off on four fouls and eventually fouled out, he’s had four straight good performances for the Pirates. He won’t start in place of Aiken when he’s healthy, but Reynolds is making it very difficult for head coach Kevin Willard to remove him from the starting lineup even when Aiken returns from injury.
- Molson and Samuel are going to be big pieces off the bench this season. Molson gives the Pirates an extra burst of energy and bite on the defensive end, and he showed he can take up a bit of the scoring responsibility as well tonight after going 3-6 from the field in the first half. Likewise, Samuel can also provide the Pirates with a solid rotation piece this season to keep their foot on the gas offensively. Given the Pirates’ lack of fluidity going forward at the moment, perhaps rewarding Samuel with a start over Obiagu against Penn State on Sunday could give the team another weapon to score.
Justin Sousa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.