Game Preview: Seton Hall vs. Mercer

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The undefeated Pirates are set to travel down south for a Saturday matinee against Mercer, looking to add to their early season win total.

When: November 16

Time: 3 EST

Where: Macon, Ga.

After wins over Kent State and Niagra, Kevin Willard's team travels to Georgia for their first road game of 2013-14.

Seton Hall's Outlook

Through two games, Seton Hall has been led by redshirt sophomore guard Sterling Gibbs. Gibbs will head into Saturday's game averaging over 21 points, five rebounds and five assists a night. In his first season after transferring from Texas, Gibbs has made 29 of his 36 free throw attempts as NCAA officials continue to blow a quick whistle.

Senior forward Fuquan Edwin struggled on opening night against Niagra, but got back on track with an efficient 19-point effort on Wednesday. Going forward, he should be back to his normal self after consistently dropping 16 points a night in 2012-13.

Willard has also gotten solid contribution thus far from junior forward Patrik Auda. In the first two games of the season, Auda has averaged 13 points and six boards while shooting over 72 percent from the field.

Seton Hall has exploited opposing defenses by getting to the charity stripe for nearly 90 foul shots. The Pirates head into the game against Mercer shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, 35 percent from three-point land and 68 percent from the foul line.

Mercer's Outlook

Mercer nearly knocked off Texas on opening night, but ultimately fell 76-73 behind 22 points from senior Langston Hall.

The Bears went on to put a smackdown on Reinhardt by a score of 95-53. A defensively sound ballclub, Mercer stifled the Eagles' offensive attack, holding all scorers to under 10 points. Senior forward Daniel Coursey led the way with 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

Don't be fooled by the fact that they play in the Atlantic Conference -- Mercer is no joke. The Bears have the 18th best rebounding team in the nation, and have three players scoring in double digits.

However, Mercer doesn't have the outside shooting prowess of Kent State, and have connected on a shaky 33 percent from beyond the arc.

As they go up against a frontcourt consisting of the 6'10" Coursey and 6'11" senior Monty Brown, Seton Hall will have to do a better job on the glass. Through two games, the Bears have averaged over 12 boards more than the Pirates.

Storylines

  1. Can Gibbs continue his early season hot streak?
  2. What will the Pirates do to contain Mercer's rebounding attack?
  3. How will Seton Hall respond to their first road game?

Prediction

If Gibbs and Edwin combine for 30+ points, Seton Hall should win. However, if either one of their offensive stars are held in check by Mercer's veteran backcourt, the Bears' rebounding may prove to be too much for Kevin Willard's team.

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