The Seton Hall Pirates picked up win number one in the 2015-16 season on Friday night, defeating the Dartmouth Big Green by the score of 84-67.
Aiding the Pirates to their fifth straight season opening win was the play of Derrick Gordon, Desi Rodriguez and Isaiah Whitehead. The trio scored 14, 12, and 18 points respectively to lead the way for head coach Kevin Willard's club. Rodriguez was impressive, coming away with five rebounds and an assist to complement the 12-point performance, shooting 4-of-7 and 3-of-5 from the free throw line.
Whitehead, meanwhile, shot skittishly - 5-for-13 - but added five rebounds and eight assists, doing it all for The Hall against the Big Green. Khadeen Carrington added 13 points of his own, shooting 7-of-11 from the free throw line.
Here are a few things that we learned from this contest:
1. The Pirates' perimeter problems persisted. Somewhat. And they got away with it.
While Seton Hall did their job to shoot 50 percent from the 3-point line, defending the perimeter was another story. The Dartmouth Big Green shot 6-of-18 from the 3-point arc, 33.3 percent. That line looked a lot worse at the start, and they tightened things up, but that their opponents jacked up so many 3-point attempts showed a willingness to not relent from long distance, and that could prove to be divisive in the future.
They will have to toe the line better from start-to-finish, because a better team may wind up capitalizing on the fact that SHU had 17 turnovers and their opponents shot 12-of-14 from the free throw line. They got away with one - Dartmouth lost by double digits - but next time it not be so easy.
2. Seton Hall can pulverize in the paint
We already were aware of the fact that the likes of Angel Delgado could get in the paint and be a force. Dartmouth, however, was not ready for what the Seton Hall offense had in store for them on Friday night at the Prudential Center. Seton Hall had a 48-22 edge in points in the paint, pasting the Big Green and then some. Seton Hall got to the basket at will and was efficient and effective there too, coming away with a 2-point field goal percentage of 64.1 percent. That type of work continues, and Seton Hall will find it very easy to best their upcoming opponents.
3. A new big man may be onto something
So, we don't want to totally overreact here. But, if you're a Pirates fan, you have to be pleased with the performance of forward Ismael Sanogo. Sanogo, a 6-foot-8 sophomore from Newark who appeared in 18 games last year, showed out after being placed in the starting lineup by head coach Kevin Willard. In 28 minutes of action, Sanogo may not have been able to stay out of foul trouble - four fouls on the night - but he scored nine, did not miss from the field, picked up eight rebounds, three blocks, an assist and a steal to boot. A couple more performances like this, and an already formidable frontcourt for The Hall may be even better than we thought.