Gene Teague had his best game of the season, totaling an efficient 17 points (5-of-7 FG) and 16 boards. Despite playing 24 minutes a night, Teague is averaging under seven points per game this season. However, a monstrous performance against the Blackbirds could spark the senior big man and lead to more consistent production.
While it was great to see solid games from Oliver and Teague, Seton Hall could be in some real trouble over the next two weeks.
Co-captain and leading scorer Fuquan Edwin sprained his ankle just two minutes into the game, and took the wind out of an undermanned Prudential Center crowd. It was clear that the 6’6" forward was seriously hurt just by the way he reacted to the injury.
Without Edwin, the Pirates will look for increased perimeter production from Oliver (26 points, 8-of-17 3PT) and freshman guard Jaren Sina, who played a season-high 34 minutes on Thursday.
In addition, standout guard Sterling Gibbs, who missed 11 shots against LIU but still managed to contribute 16 points, will shoulder the scoring.
LIU Brooklyn came into the Prudential Center led by Jason Brickman, the nation’s top distributor with 10 assists a game. Brickman notched 19 points and nine dimes against the Pirates, and got support from four other Blackbirds scoring in double-digits. In the end, their inability to cool down Oliver and slow the Pirates’ offense, even with Edwin’s injury, was the reason for the loss.
The win is nice, but Edwin's health is paramount in South Orange. Coach Kevin Willard addressed the issue after game (via the Associated Press).
"Fu' is going to be out at least a week or two," Willard said. "We're going to get X-rays tomorrow to make sure he didn't do any major, major damage. He went up for a rebound and rolled his ankle. That's where you have to be careful, when you roll it, that he didn't chip a bone."
With Rutgers and NJIT next up on the schedule, Seton Hall will be able to get by without their top gun -- for now. But with big-time conference showdowns against Creighton and #14 Villanova coming up in January, the Pirates will need their captain back.
Grading the Pirates
|Sterling Gibbs||B||Gibbs wasn't exactly efficient, but 16 points, five dimes and three steals is a solid night.|
|Brian Oliver||A+||All 25 of Oliver's field goals this season have been three's. He was in Reggie Miller-mode Thursday night, and really gave the Pirates life after Edwin went down.|
|Gene Teague||A+||The big bruiser had his best game of the season after batting a stomach flu in a disappointing loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Sunday. 16 points and 17 boards is beastly.|
|Jaren Sina||B||With Edwin sidelined, Sina saw more minutes than usual. The first-year guard played well, and will look to have an increased role over the next month or so.|
|Fuquan Edwin||O||When his team's leading scorer went down early on, the season probably flashed Willard's eyes. Hopefully, Edwin is alright and will be back in time for the beginning of January, which is when the schedule gets a little bumpy.|