Seton Hall topples Florida A&M, 87-51Date: November 23, 2019
By: Justin Morris
Look at the final score of Seton Hall men’s basketball’s Saturday afternoon matchup with Florida A&M, and see what appears to be flat out domination from the Pirates. The final mark was 87-51, which more than covered the 30-point spread that was predicted in the days heading up the game, but the matchup itself was truly a tale of two distinctive halves for the Pirates.
Their performance was all but convincing in the first period, and it looked as if they had some rust to shake off after getting nearly a week off from their previous matchup against Saint Louis. They were able to take a comfortable 12-point lead into the locker room at the break, but sloppy turnovers and a few mental mistakes marred what should have been a bludgeoning of the winless Rattlers from the game’s outset.
The Pirates shot just 35% from the field and a little over 26% from the three-point line in the first, as A&M’s defensive strategies against their top scorers proved successful. The Rattlers brought multiple double teams, and tried to heavily influence the force directions of Qunicy McKnight and Myles Powell, holding both to eight points and the latter to a 3/11 clip from the field. The teams were also fairly even in the rebounding discrepancy (26-23); which was wildly surprising considering the Hall’s undeniable height advantage over A&M.
A 1-11 scoring drought in the final three minutes of the first was the worst stretch from the Pirates, and at one point the Rattlers cut the lead to single digits, leaving coach Willard with little to say as the half closed. He said postgame “With a crowd like that for a Saturday game against this opponent, I was disappointed with how we came out.”
Willard’s words, or perhaps lack of words at halftime were exactly what the Pirates needed, and they were able to open the lead up in the second half. Defense was clearly a focus, and they utilized a full-court press throughout its opening minutes, showing a concerted effort to create turnovers and turn them into easy close-range baskets in transition.
Powell was able to find his range in the second as well, eventually raising his shooting numbers to 9/22 from the floor, and 4/9 from three-point land. McKnight also got going, pouring in 14 total for the game. They received key contributions from Jared Rhoden and Tyrese Samuel too, both of whom filled in at the four spot for a hobbled Sandro Mamukelashvili after he left the game with soreness. Rhoden had his first double-double of the year with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Samuel gave them 7 and 6 in 19 minutes. Head coach Willard was sure to praise both of their performances afterwards.
Next stop for the Pirates is the Bahamas, and the classic Battle of Atlantis that’s held over Thanksgiving break. They’re slated to play Oregon in the tournament’s opener.
Justin Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.