Joe Dzuback is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after Saturday’s games at the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational featuring Seton Hall, LIU, Manhattan, and South Carolina.
Down by eight to Long Island University just over seven minutes into the game, coach Kevin Willard, hanging a threat of two-a-days over Christmas if the Hall’s backcourt did not start to look to the frontcourt before launching shots, brought sophomore Brandon Mobley back into the game to team with sophomore Eugene Teague. Mobley, who seemed more focused in Saturday’s game, combined with Teague to shut down the lane and sweep the Blackbirds off the boards. Less than two minutes later, LIU freshman forward Khalil Murphy picked up his second foul, and with the score tied 19-all and Murphy grabbing the pine, the Pirates worked the ball inside to Mobley who dunked and started a 10-2 run. Five minutes later LIU senior forward Jamal Olasewere picked up his second foul and joined Murphy on the sideline, while Seton Hall, faced with little opposition inside, extended its lead even more with a 19-8 run that virtually closed out the game even before the intermission. A composed and confident Pirates squad duplicated their first half effort, posting a 12-point second half advantage to close out the Invitational with an 89-59 victory.
Jamal Olasewere, forced to shoulder an even larger share of the Blackbirds’ offense with the injury to senior forward Julian Boyd, led all scorers with 27, nine points better than his season average. Freshman forward E. J. Reed, who will, “have to grow up fast” according to first year coach Fred Perri, chipped in with eight points. Meanwhile, Mobley, whose mid-week slumps according to Willard are attributed to his concern for academics, paced the Pirates with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Five other Pirates posted double figure points totals in a well-distributed scoring blitz.
The Pirates raise their record to 10-2 with this victory. With one more non-conference game to play before they open conference play at DePaul, Seton Hall is poised to begin conference play with a record that nearly matches last season’s promising 11-1 start. Whether the Pirates are poised to become one of this season’s surprise teams in the Big East remains to be seen, but the early returns are promising.