Seton Hall won Saturday in Newark against Xavier to tie the season series at one win a piece. Today was the first game in which highly profiled recruit Isaiah Whitehead played since December. He had an impressive game, as did Sterling Gibbs to lead Seton Hall to a 90-82 victory over Xavier in front of over 8,000 faithful Pirates fans. There were a few things we learned from Seton Hall's victory:
1. Isaiah Whitehead could easily be the best freshman in the Big East
As Isaiah Whitehead entered the game he received a standing ovation from the Seton Hall faithful. He did not disappoint those who rose to their feet to cheer on his return. Whitehead posted an impressive stat line of 19/4/3 in his return which is out of this world. It is very apparent this kid has immense talent, and makes Seton Hall that much more dangerous when he laces up to play. Trevon Bluiett for Xavier also had an impressive day posting a stat line of 19/3/1 on 6-8 shooting. Expect these two guys to be near the top of the Big East Rookie of the Year race.
2. Seton Hall's starting backcourt can protect the ball
Between the three starting guards for Seton Hall (Gibbs, Sina and Carrington) there were only four turnovers committed in a combined 97 minutes. That is absolutely spectacular, it was a great showing from the starting backcourt of Seton Hall. Sterling Gibbs, in particular, led by example today. He had eight assists to only two turnovers in 37 minutes of play. Gibbs played out of his mind today but it was easy to overlook since the entire Pirates' squad played very well.
3. Xavier's key to road victories still is not offense
Xavier did not struggle offensively, even though they only shot about 5% from three, as they posted 82 points and had four players in double-figure scoring. Xavier won at Georgetown earlier this week and that feat was accomplished via defensive intensity. In that matchup, they held the Hoyas to 53 points on 40% shooting from the field. If Xavier can learn that defense if their most lethal weapon, they could be very dangerous in February/March.