Seton Hall's Offense Gets the Best of DePaul

In this Valentine's Day matinee, DePaul showed no love. For defense that is, or at least for a half. The hard-nosed defense that DePaul has relied on to keep them in games was nonexistent for 20 minutes, as they went down in defeat 79-71 at Seton Hall.

DePaul (8-16, 1-11) was sluggish getting out the gate and let Seton Hall's high-octane offense besiege them. Porous defense and some sloppy turnovers led to many easy baskets for the Pirates. Seton Hall (14-9, 5-7) jumped out to a 12-1 lead, and for the duration of the first half they would not look back. Although DePaul would trim the lead to four with 3:55 to go in the half, Seton Hall would respond with a 13-2 run punctuated by Jeremy Hazell's back-breaking 3-point buzzer beater to take a comfortable 50-35 halftime lead.

DePaul's Interim Head Coach Tracy Webster was upset at the lack of passion on defense in the first half, which left a big hole the Demons could not dig themselves out of.

"Getting off to that start, allowing 50 points in the first half is pretty tough," Webster said.

"That's not how we want to continue to play," Tracy added. "We can't allow that, we can't play catch up. I thought our guys did a better job in the second half. We outscored them 36-29, but it was too late by that time."

"I thought we did a better job defending in the second half and taking away first and second shot opportunities," added Webster. "I also think we did a better job scoring and made them play some defense."

DePaul would fight and scrap as usual in the second half and resembled the team that has taken some pretty good Big East teams down to the wire.

Seton Hall would score the first bucket in the first half, a layup by Keon Lawrence with 19:07 to go, but a 9-0 run got the Demons right back in the game. DePaul would make a game of it with 2:17 to go after a layup by Will Walker cut the lead to five. Walker, who was fouled on the play, missed the bonus free-throw and from there the Pirates would push the lead back up to nine with 1:05 to go. Although DePaul would trim it to four with 20 seconds to go, the Pirates would make their necessary free throws to ensure the victory.

The Pirates got a team high 18 points from Hazell, albeit on six of 16 shooting, and 16 from Jeff Robinson.

"We kept our gas on the pedal," said Seton Hall's Head Coach Bobby Gonzalez. "We pretty much controlled the game from beginning to end. It got a little tight a couple of times, which I think is good for us. We did what we had to do to win the game."

DePaul was led by Will Walker's 19 points on 7-24 shooting.

However, perhaps the even bigger story and silver lining in DePaul's loss was the outstanding play of freshman Tony Freeland. Freeland came into the game with 17:42 to go in the first half and would never go back to the bench. He had a career day with 18 points on 8-11 shooting and also hauled in eight rebounds.

"Tony Freeland practiced really well for us this week (and) showed it on the court," Webster remarked. "Hopefully we can continue to get the type of play on the court that he showed tonight."

Even Gonzalez chimed in about the effort Freeland gave.

"We know about him (Freeland) out of Los Angeles, and he was supposedly a high level recruit," admitted Gonzalez. "He came out of nowhere today and got 18 points. He looked to me like a pretty good player."

Next up for the Demons is Tuesday night match-up with Rutgers.

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