NEWARK, NJ -- The Pirates opened up their season with a 63-47 win over Mercer at the Prudential Center as The Hall put together a solid performance overall.
Senior Brandon Mobley really stepped up for Pirates has he led all scorers with 19 points and also ripped down nine rebounds. Mobley shot 7-9 from the field and his leadership was certainly felt by Kevin Willard’s bunch as he made big plays that do not show up in the score sheet. One of them was after a miss by Sterling Gibbs, as Mobley kept the play alive with the rebound and then, after winding the clock down, he nailed the trey as well.
Coach Willard said after the game, "This what I have always expected from Mobley and his leadership has really started to turn over the last two weeks."
Seton Hall ended the first half on a 16-2 run went into the half leading 35-24 and after the Bears cut the lead to five in the second half, the Pirates pulled away with solid shooting as they hit 8-20 from behind the arc.
Angel Delgado’s debut started off with a nine rebound first half and he finished with 12 boards and seven points. His woes from the free throw line continued as he only made 2-6 after missing all six against Caldwell. On the offensive glass, Delgado enforced his will and was very disruptive on both ends.
Isaiah Whitehead, in his first collegiate game, had only two points and two rebounds as he struggled to find his shot. He started off slow as he shot 1-6 from the field in the first half and did not improve as he finished 1-10 from the field. Whitehead air-balled three consecutive 3-pointers in the second, but many close to the team do not expect that to continue.
"I thought Isaiah played terrible," said Willard, "He is a big time player, but it is a huge learning curve for him."
Other solid performances were turned in by Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina who finished with 17 and nine points respectively. Sina’s two threes were huge in building the first half lead. He will need to continue to make those shots for the Hall to be successful.
The Pirates defense was solid for the majority of the game as they held Mercer to 37 percent shooting while only shooting just under 40 percent themselves.
Seton Hall goes to the Paradise Jam with a nice confidence building win as they look to keep the overall confidence of the team going. Willard thought that all of this freshmen did not play very well, but expects that his young players will improve over the next three or four games.
- Mobley's 19 points were unexpected to say the least as he has not scored that many in over a year. With Whitehead's early struggles it would be huge he continued to play well.
- This was one of the most positive performance from the Pirates in a long time and by positive I mean talking with each other on the court. These players were constantly cheering each other up if they made a mistake and if they made a good play the team would acknowledge more than in the past. It was refreshing to see.
- The frontline from Seton Hall was aggressive all game. Delgado, Mobley and even Rashed Anthony coming off the bench made impacts just by being on the floor. If that continues and the guard play improves, which the team fully believes it will, this team could really start to come together.