Pirates No Match for Friars

Coming off of a big win over AP #15 Marquette, the Friars knew they had to take care of business against a scrappy but undersized Seton Hall squad. On a night unveiling the Dave Gavitt Court under the watchful eyes of the former coach and over 60 Friar players spanning the decades, the Friars put forth another strong performance on their way to 91-69 victory.

While the entire team put forth a solid to impressive performance last night, it was really Herb Hill, Weyinme Efejuku, and Geoff McDermott who stole the show. Hill showed how he will be a force all year long with 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots. Seton Hall had absolutely no answer for him playing man to man defense for much of the night.

Although Weyinme Efejuku didn't have a great night from behind the 3pt. pt arc (1-6), he still showed how much he can do on the floor by getting his transition game in high gear and aggressively attacking the basket. (7-15, 24 pts.) His drives also got him to the line repeatedly where he was an impressive 10 for 11.

As usual, almost no Friar win can occur without another do-it-all performance from Geoff McDermott. The super sophomore had a stat line fo 14 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. I got to ask...While not even the most athletic player on his own team, how many players college basketball right now have such a complete game?

A bit lost in the shuffle but nonetheless noteworthy were the performances of Dwain Williams and Charlie Burch. While Williams' shooting was off against Seton Hall (2-8 8pts), he did flash a solid floor game against a very aggressive press. Williams look to make plays more than shots all game long, and totaled 5 assists and only 1 turnover in 37 minutes of play. As for Charlie Burch, he had a nice comeback game after an extended period of injury plagued struggles. Burch's confidence surged as the game rolled on, and his shooting followed as he went 5-8 from the field, tallying 11 points and 6 tough rebounds in eighteen minutes of play.

As for Bobby Gonzales and Seton Hall, it was a rude welcoming to the Big East on the road. With a serious lack of size and spotty outside shooting, Seton Hall must force turnovers and a frenetic pace to beat quality opponents. While they managed to cause some havoc midway through the 1st half, keeping the score manageable at the half , it wasn't nearly enough. (Down 6) Tim Welsh substituted liberally in the first half with an eye of blowing out a fatigued Pirate squad in the final 20 minutes.

That proved to be wise thinking as the Friar outscored Seton Hall by 16 in the second half. One 2nd half adjustment made by Welsh was to slide Herb Hill into the middle of the zone, dropping Efejuku to the low post wing.. This maneuver took away some of the difficult floaters that the Pirates were connecting on earlier.

After a moving ceremony and an impressive win, all appeared to be well in Friartown. Tim Welsh and his team now have a week to rest up and prepare for their first Big East road game at Louisville on Saturday, January 13th at 12p.m. ET.

Friar Notes:
Randall Hanke, the 6-11 redshirt center who will return to the Friars as a junior next season, was back on the PC bench and in good spirits... PC improves to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in the Big East... Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzales warmly greeted his former player Jeff Xavier on the Friar bench at the conclusion of the game... Without an inside game, Seton Hall was overpowered on the boards, 47-26... Sixty or so former players were on hand to honor Dave Gavitt and Joe Mullaney... Friar Insider was pleased to speak with and interview a number of Friar greats in attendance during the game festivities. Subscribers can look forward to hearing interviews with former Friars Billy Eason, Bruce "Soup" Campbell, and Eric Murdock in the coming days.

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