DePaul Blue Demons vs. Seton Hall Pirates - Saturday, February 23rd, 7:00 p.m. (Central) – Newark, New Jersey
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For teams that are currently holding down the last two spots for the Big East Tournament, to say Saturday's match up between DePaul and Seton Hall is crucial would be an understatement.
DePaul (10-15, 5-8) and Seton Hall (15-11, 5-8), while currently holding onto the 11 and 12 spots with the same Big East record of 5-8, are both struggling as of late. That is in contrast to when both teams got off to good starts in Big East play. The game is proving to be paramount for the team that wants to gain some momentum while hitting the home stretch.
DePaul is coming off a surprising contested game against #13th ranked Connecticut on Tuesday but ultimately fell to the Huskies on the road 65-60. Seton Hall has lost five in a row and are coming off a humbling loss at West Virginia 89-68 last Sunday.
The five game losing streak is a head scratcher for the Pirates considering before their skid, Seton Hall was riding a five game winning streak while knocking off some good teams, notably Louisville.
"A whole bunch of things happened at that time," said Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez said. "Paul Gause tore his ACL. John Garcia hurt his knee and clearly has been struggling and playing on one leg. I think just with the schedule we went against the iron a little bit. We've played the best teams in the conference pretty much."
DePaul has had a similar bad stretch. DePaul has lost six out of their last seven, but prior to that were playing some good ball while winning seven of nine.
Seton Hall is led by Brian Laing, a 6-5 senior guard/forward who leads the team in both scoring (19 ppg) and rebounding (7.1 rpg). Laing is a leading candidate for all Big East Honors. Laing is a do-it-all player for the Pirates. The Pirates also pace three other players in double-figures.
Seton Hall has an emerging backcourt to compliment the play of Laing. Eugene Harvey, a 6-0 sophomore point guard, (14.5 ppg and a team leading 4.69 apg) is the catalyst for the Pirates on offense. He looks to get other involved but is also a capable scorer. The play of 6-5 freshman guard Jeremy Hazell (13 ppg and a team leading 59 three pointers) has been a welcome addition and is a threat from downtown. 6-2 senior guard Jamar Nutter (10.2) is the seasoned anchor that leads by example.
Seton Hall is not lacking in putting the ball in the hoop, placing second in the Big East in scoring with an average of 78.8 ppg. So, what you most likely will see is a track meet considering the Demons and the Pirates place 15th and 16th respectively in the Big East in team scoring defense.
A track meet may suit the Demons just fine when you consider the fact that in half court games, DePaul's opponents have exploited the interior. Seton Hall, while they have some capable scorers, does not boast an intimidating big man.
So look for DePaul to get out the break and play a full court game while trying to establish scorers like Draelon Burns, Will Walker and Darquavis Tucker.
DePaul and Seton Hall did not meet each other last year and this will be the first time DePaul plays in Seton Hall's new home, the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Suffice it to say, the team to reach 75 points first may ultimately end up winning this game. You can expect a lot of scoring with not much defense. If you're a purist, you may not enjoy this game, but if you love offense this game may have it.
Considering what's at stake, expect this to be an intense yet entertaining ball game.
The Last Time
The Demons and Pirates haven't faced off since February 25, 2006 at Allstate Arena. On that date, DePaul prevailed 67-64. Freshman forward Wilson Chandler scored 26 points and snared 11 rebounds. Karron Clarke contributed with 14 points while freshman Jabari Currie scored 10. Chicagoan Kelly Whitney led Seton Hall with 20 points while Jamar Nutter chipped in with 18.
Seton Hall Roster
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)
2 Jamar Nutter G 6-2 205 Sr. Bloomfield, N.J. (Seton Hall Prep)
4 Robert Mitchell F 6-6 180 So. Brooklyn, N.Y. (Progress/Duquesne Univ.)
13 Mike Davis F/C 6-11 255 Fr. Brooklyn, N.Y. (Brooklyn Academy)
14 Brian Laing G/F 6-5 215 Sr. Bronx, N.Y. (St. Raymond's)
15 Eugene Harvey G 6-0 165 So. Brooklyn, N.Y. (St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.))
21 Jeremy Hazell G 6-5 185 Fr. Harlem, N.Y. (Patterson School (N.C.))
22 Paul Gause G 5-11 188 Jr. Pittsgrove, N.J. (Arthur P. Schalick)
25 Augustine Okosun F/C 6-11 240 Jr. Benin City, Nigeria (Harcum College (Pa.))
31 John Garcia F/C 6-9 265 So. Brentwood, N.Y. (Brentwood)
33 Brandon Walters F 6-9 225 Fr. Brooklyn, N.Y. (Abraham Lincoln)
35 Larry Davis G 6-4 185 So. Middle Village, N.Y. (Christ the King)
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