Newark, NJ—This season coach should be smiling a lot harder, his prayers has been answered. He has a front court that is very athletic, quick, and long.
The Pirates are playing with a new found confidence, bravado, and they are having fun on the hardwood.
Seton Hall beat Yale, 80-44, on Sunday to move to 2-0 for the season, Alexis Yetna lead the way with 15 points for the Pirates.
The Pirates welcomed back Jared Rhoden to the lineup after missing the season opener versus Fairleigh Dickinson with an ankle sprain. He scored eight points and grabbed ten rebounds in twenty-one minutes on the court.
“This is kind of how I envisioned this team,” Willard said. “There’s not so much pressure on anyone on the court at any time.They all know that ‘hey, if it’s not my night, someone’s there to pick me up,’ and that’s a really nice thing for a player to have. Every time you go into the game, you don’t have to stress about ‘I need to play great for us to win.”
The Bulldogs in the first half to cut the deficit to four, struggled to score — the team made 15 of 62 shots from the field, a 24.2% that represents the program’s poorest shooting performance in at least a decade. This from a team that shot 42 percent from downtown against UMass.
Seton Hall’s length on the wings created problems for the Bulldogs. Pirates Hall head coach Kevn Willard made that observation and exploited it to the end.
SHU was red hot from the start, jumping to a 15-2 lead and going up 45-22 at the break. The lead got to as little as 18 points in the second half, but the Bulldogs were no match for the Pirates at the Prudential Center.
Yetna led the Pirates in scoring on 5 of 9 shooting from the field. Kadary Richmond chipped in 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting and Myles Cale added 11. Defensively, Seton Hall held Yale to 15 of 62 shooting, with Jalen Gabbidon’s 14 points leading the Bulldogs (2-1).
“It was a frustrating game all around,” head coach James Jones said. “I chalk it up a lot to Seton Hall’s gameplan and the way they defended us . I can’t remember one good offensive set that we ran the entire game, and that’s on me as a coach and trying to get our guys to do what’s necessary.”
No Hall player played more than 22 minutes, and 10 different players got on the stat sheet as coach Kevin Willard went deep to his bench during the blowout. It’s the second straight easy win for SHU after they opened with a 93-49 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson last week.
“Our bench is really going to be key for us this year,” Rhoden said. “It’s going to catapult us to being one of the best teams in the country.”
The Pirates has a prime-time date with No. 6 Michigan in Ann Arbor.